Lostcast 204: Dork Fortress
Super Mario Run is a good reason to avoid mobile. Nintendo released a brand new Mario game at the cheapest launch price ever… and got slammed. Yes, there are some legit complaints, but browsing the feedback the ultimate lesson seems to be daring to release a game that is not freemium will tank your stock price.
This is why gaming on mobile is garbage: Go ads. Go spyware. Go pay-to-win. Or go home.
Seems like what makes procedural generation work is the number of surprises it provides and the range of different player interactions enabled in procgen levels (and content, generally).
In Spelunky, all the different room hazards, the different ways items can interact with the environment (and enemies), and the various secrets (rooms, items, etc.) all make it work.
You guys did procedurally generated monsters and items in addition to map/room generation in AWL2, correct?
One thing, IMHO, that made the original NES Legend of Zelda’s second quest significant (even though it was hand crafted) as it relates to procgen content was the number of, again, surprises that you had (secret rooms, totally different item locations, different dungeon maps, different enemies, etc.), and the increased level of difficulty. The second quest was almost like a procgen version of the first quest.
Another, IMHO, major factor in the second quest’s popularity is/was that the world was somewhat familiar - the Overworld map was basically the same - but the Underworld, the dungeons, were all totally different, so you could use some of your existing knowledge of, and skills from, the first quest, but you encountered just enough surprises that playing through the second quest felt different, fun, and challenging.
Caves of Qud is an example of a Rogue-like with a semi-persistent world. The “overworld” map is always the same, but each “square” on the map that you enter is procedurally generated (within a given theme - you get the same types of monsters and tiles in every desert tile, and the same tiles/monsters in the jungle area, for example). Also, all dungeons are procedurally generated (again, they stick to area/dungeon themes for tiles/monsters/items).
One other question, have you guys tracked whether procgen actually saves you time, at least anecdotally? For example, how long does it take you to design a hand-crafted level vs. writing all the procgen algorithms? What are the pros/cons to procgen for you guys in terms of workflow and efficiency? Is it more efficient for you? Does it really save all the time it’s supposed to save?
Anyway, just some thoughts and questions on procgen. I’ve gone back and forth on procgen vs. no procgen myself.
First, yay! I’m a show note!
Rampage Knights is a really fun procgen roguelike side scrolling beat em up ( like Golden Axe) I think you’ll really enjoy analyzing / playing it.
I think about procgen in almost every project, but especially exploration or rpg. The reason for me is so that I can enjoy discovering things as the developer. If I spend the time to hand craft everything then I will know all of the secrets. At least that’s the theory anyway having not finished any rpgs.
I am pretty sure that even Skyrim uses procgen to some degree. Some world side quests, the dungeon denizens, chest contents. Major quests are the same, but a lot of the minor details ( that help breathe life into the game ) are procedurally generated.
Like everything in software dev, procgen is just a tool. Proper use is required, and you can’t build a game with just any one tool. I don’t think it inherently takes or gives anything to exploration by itself.