Procedural Generation – How Games Create Infinite Worlds

POSTED BY Viet Nguyen March 3, 2017 in News
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In an age where gaming is less a hobby and more a lifestyle, the gaming industry is forced to continually carry out research and development. This is in order to become industry leaders or keep up with the competition. And thus avoid becoming obsolete.

Procedural generation is quasi randomly created gaming content via computer. This is a substitute for hand crafted content. This is especially used for games that have infinite replay-ability. Done by creating unlimited content to facilitate players play a game forever, used especially for PC gaming which is the largest and most versatile gaming platform.

Some games are partially generated while others use it to randomize the layout of the games map. Games like Minecraft go a step further and use it to create whole worlds. In most games procedural generation is a tool for creating in-game environments, enemy encounters and lude drops.

It can create a perpetual lude hunting experience in some games to maximize the gamer’s satisfaction. As it facilitates a functionally infinite number of levels in game, you can enjoy it for years as opposed to a fixed experience which is finite.

The player is thus presented always with new challenges and experiences ensuring they never learn the game by route while keeping their interest. Dedicated players are gifted with an enormous gamete of different scenarios to test their prowess and rewarding them for it.

Procedural generation can also be adaptive in that is adjust to a player to make the game fit their play style like a tailor made suit. They can dynamically adjust to create different levels of difficulty enabling the players to really hone their skills. Strategy, rogue like and platformer games greatly benefit from procedural generation in their development.

But as with all things it also has the flip side of the coin i.e. the downsides. To begin with, one size doesn’t fit all as there is no personal touch and finesse in the making. And it is rarely as powerful as hand crafted content as you sacrifice the ability to craft exactly the experience you want. Especially a problem when you are trying to depict a narrative through the game.

It also requires a lot of time and resources to build quality content. And is an economies of scale aspect. If you need to create a multitude of levels then the cost is justified. Shorter games are better of focusing on top tier custom design content.

Finally, it’s very difficult to do well, ensuring the computer always produces coherent, engaging and not broken content. Like a player respawning in a room without an exit or a physically unachievable goal. This is offset by identifying the edge cases and having the system check and solve them.

A designer then ensures that the end product is engaging. This is by setting up rules of how the quasi randomness works, even creating specific rule-sets and sub rules. Hand crafted and procedural generation can go hand in hand to ensure higher player satisfaction.

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