Gameplay Run-Time procedural generation discussion(Non Technical)

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Partially agree.

Yes, the way NMS implemented procedural generation had some downsides, though personally I thought NMS was a great game even as it was when first launched (but that's a separate topic).

But Minecraft also uses procedural generation, and look how successful that's been. There are certainly ways to use it well, and ways to use it poorly -- or perhaps use it well while marketing it poorly, as maybe NMS did.

Actually,  I  think the reason most devs, indie devs in particular, don't implement it is less due to fear of player backlash and more just because it's hard. When you're struggling just to make ends meet, the bold ambitious ideas that sometimes lend best to procedural generation are probably the last thing on your mind.

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I would imagine that it is often not necessary, or would achieve little to no gain in using it.

My own "Rube" is certainly like this.  Just because Rube is there for me to use, doesn't necessarily mean that it should be used.  The best example is that I could use Rube to control the AI in Pirate Dawn, but that would add a whole lot more work to producing that game for very little gain.  The simple ways I have those things working work just fine for that simple arcade game.  Rube could enhance it a lot from a "coolness" perspective of how it works, but few gamers would even notice that "coolness".  The simple "old school" ways it is already using to, for example, spawn "space monsters" will work almost as well as they are.  So it is just not worth using it in that type of situation.  "Just because a thing can be done, it does not necessarily follow that thing should be done."

I would imagine that it is much the same with procedural generation.  If it can be done in a much simpler way, and the player will barely notice a difference in the end... then why bother with the complex way?

 

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Kavik Kang thank for your input....i asked this question for a dissertation i am working on titled: Deliberate Ignorance/Aversion of the Indie Development Scene towards procedural content generation. 

Edited by frob
Moderator edit: Removing enormous font and formatting oddities.

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I would think especially in an indie game that procedural generation is normally going to be not worth the effort.  Indie games are normally intentionally simple.  I know very little of procedural generation other than a fairly complete understanding of the concept.  But with my own "advanced system", it usually adds very little to such simple games that can't be done in traditional ways that are for more simple and do not require the fairly massive system of my Rube, or I would imagine procedural generation, lying at their foundation when the almost the same end effect that the player will notice can be achieved in a far more simple and conventional way.

 

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Kavik Kang games such as spelunky, terraria, the binding of issaac, super meat boy have done well proving that the effort can infact be worth it... yes i do agree that there are many loopholes in procedural generation but i think that if devs spend time and effort coming up with more efficient, better performing procedural systems, it would be a treat for their audiences.
Edited by @Teejay_Cherian

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2 hours ago, @Teejay_Cherian said:

I believe that developers do not implement run-time procedural generation for they fear that audiences are not accepting towards it given the downfall of games such as  no man's sky. (Please share your thoughts if you AGREE or DISAGREE)

Disagree:

Developers are aware NMS did not fulfill too high expectations, but it's no failure. If they fear the word 'procedural', it can be avoided in marketing but techniques can still be used.

I think runtime procedural generation is used a lot more by indies than by AAA studios. There are so many games that generate the enviroment procedurally, mostly by stitching handmade tiles / rooms together in a random way. (E.g. the retro shooter Strafe, many rouge likes, ...?) They often use procedural generation for marketing.

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16 minutes ago, @Teejay_Cherian said:

Kavik Kang games such as spelunky, terraria, the binding of issaac, super meat boy have done well proving that the effort can infact be worth it...

Lots of games, so indies use it.

Why do you think procedural generation is underused / What is your vision of the benefit of procedural generation?

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10 minutes ago, JoeJ said:

Why do you think procedural generation is underused / What is your vision of the benefit of procedural generation?

JoeJ  i do believe that several procedural techniques have manifested in the market but i feel that the manual to procedural(run-time) ratio is high. therefore i want to know if indie developers are:

  1. Avoiding it to play safe
  2. Do not find need to use it

(this is for a dissertation im working on )

Edited by @Teejay_Cherian

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20 minutes ago, @Teejay_Cherian said:

Do not find need to use it

This, yes.

If you work on a game where the game play mechanics are interesting and the enviroment can be pretty random (RTS), procedural terrain / levels becomes a promising option: Less work than creating it manually, can be different for each new game, can be infinite.

If you work on a game where enviroment affects gameplay a lot (Super Mario), or the story is interesting (Uncharted), you want to create an enviroment that is interesting / expressive as well. Likely you do level design, create concept art, etc. and make everything by hand. There is no point to have a slightly different or infinite enviroment for each new game. (You can still use runtime procedural generation, but likely you tweak it to look as intended. The more time you spend on tweaking procedural generation, the more 'hand made' it becomes again.)

Mixing both is usually not that attractive or worth the effort, think of Super Mario with procedural levels or a role playing game that just becomes too large / boring using tooo much procedural dungeons.

 

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Disagree. Most successful indie developers make games with a relatively small scope where procedural generation isn't the most efficient way to produce content. The only reason to use it in such a case is if it's an integral part of the gameplay mechanics.

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3 hours ago, @Teejay_Cherian said:

i do believe that several procedural techniques have manifested in the market but i feel that the manual to procedural(run-time) ratio is high.

It has always been this way. Occasionally a few games with procedural generation get popular, but it comes and goes. I think you're examining far too short a section of history and making assumptions that probably won't hold over time.

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When you refer to "run-time procedural generation", what, precisely, do you mean?

 

Procedural generation of certain elements at run-time isn't at all uncommon at the moment, I think. To the best of my knowledge, there are a number of upcoming games that feature procedural dungeons/environments, in particular. Look for example at Wizard of Legend, or Astroneer.

 

If you mean the large-scale generation of No Man's Sky, in which multiple planets are generated, along with procedural ecologies, then I suspect that it's rare not because of fear of failure, but because it's very hard to actually do.

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