What is with indie games and procedural generation?

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Ronian53
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What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Ronian53 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:22 am

So many indie games are procedurally generated roguelikes or "some other genre but procedurally generated" It's worse than the AAA open world/FPS plague. What is it that makes indie devs want to do procedurally generated games so much?

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aa-dav
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by aa-dav » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:30 am

Ronian53 wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:22 am
What is it that makes indie devs want to do procedurally generated games so much?
Absence of time to do every game aspect including game map.

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gauauu
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by gauauu » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:17 am

Spelunky got really popular. When one indie game becomes popular, everyone wants to copy it.

dink
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by dink » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:38 pm

proceduraly generated = blah

Oziphantom
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Oziphantom » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:58 pm

it gives your game
- infinite replayablitly and thus makes it sound like "good value"
- saves them from having to do the hard part of level design
- avoids the need for story as (unless you are Inkle and are making Pendragon ) its all random so no plot here
- in order to be a solo dev you need to be a programmer and they enjoy crafting perfect amazing algorithms more than anything else
- it was a buzz word that seem to be "hot seller" and adding it to marketing got you interest

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gauauu
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by gauauu » Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:28 am

dink wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:38 pm
proceduraly generated = blah
I know some people love them, but I mostly agree. I enjoy a feeling that the game world is "real" which doesn't happen in procedural games.

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Nikku4211
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Nikku4211 » Tue Dec 15, 2020 1:33 pm

Procedural generation can make for replay value, at least when done well.

With procedural generation, you don't need to manually design the actual levels, you just need to make the assets and code it right.

When done poorly, you can end up making a game that isn't fun at all.

Minecraft is procedural generation done well, Minecraft 4k(as in under 4 kibibytes) is procedural generation done poorly because there wasn't enough space for code and assets. Though then again, the final Minecraft 4k ended up being a little over 2 kibibytes.

In 4kiB Minecraft, the 64^3 block world is completely random, with no design sense at all beyond the code being compact.

There couldn't be enough variety in the game either due to the filesize, so Minecraft 4k ends up being a boring game to play on its own, and definitely nothing like its bigger counterpart.
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93143
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by 93143 » Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:46 pm

F-Zero X has a random track generator, which serves to illustrate the difference because it also has 24 hand-made tracks (25 if you count the Death Race vertical oval).

The hand-made tracks have more types of features (loops and jumps, for instance), and feel more purposeful. The random tracks can be brilliant, but they are often uninspired and occasionally slightly glitchy (it's a surprisingly well-behaved feature overall, but not 100% perfect). The reduced feature set results in tracks with a very samey feel - there seems to be a single banking parameter that governs all the corners, for instance, and if a track has a tube or cylinder it comprises essentially the whole track and is generally more or less circular, with no interesting twists or turns like e.g. Space Plant.

Also, the AI has to adapt on the fly, so its shortcomings are more apparent - it was in X Cup that I first noticed the player's 3 rivals being virtually uncatchable on the final lap, and then slowing way down right at the end to let the player past, even at the expense of losing to other AI racers that use a different rubberbanding algorithm. And then there's the occasional AI killer track where the only real challenge is to not dive off the edge with everyone else... Does anyone else remember what Captain Falcon's secret identity was in the anime?

It adds a lot of replay value. But it wouldn't have held up if the entire game had been random.

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Jarhmander
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Jarhmander » Wed Dec 16, 2020 5:57 am

Aren't Diablo's levels procedurally generated? They were very well made.
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Oziphantom » Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:28 pm

Diablo 1/2 have procedurally generated layouts. Diablo 3 only has it on dungeon pieces. However the dungeon is not really the game play loop. Nobody says "oh man this dungeon layout is awesome so much fun to go through room and room and find out what is next. It's more about the combat, random item drops etc

You can also have fixed procedurally designed levels. Pitfall and H.E.R.O have procedural levels just its a fixed algorithm. Hunter's Moon also has the levels built procedurally.

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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by calima » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:24 am

The procgen dungeon in Lufia 2 is the only reason some folks play that game.

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rainwarrior
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by rainwarrior » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:53 am

Randomizers for old software have become a surprisingly popular thing lately. To be honest these aren't really my thing, personally, but I've seen a lot of people enjoying getting to see new variety in a game they've already mastered. It becomes an interesting way to get extra deep into a game you like.

The Game Randomizer Site keeps a massive list of them all.

This is a weird form of post-hoc procedural generation, where the game wasn't initially designed for it, but in a lot of cases a lot of variety can get created out of even minor changes, it seems.

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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Pokun » Thu Dec 17, 2020 7:18 am

Animal Crossing wouldn't work as well if each town wasn't unique.

Megaman 9 and 10 uses a randomized mode which is procedural generation done right. It's like you have unlimited levels that can be played quite causally. Then again, of course it's only a small part of the game. If the main game would use randomly generated levels, it wouldn't be half as fun, so it's similar to F-Zero X.

93143 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:46 pm
F-Zero X has a random track generator, which serves to illustrate the difference because it also has 24 hand-made tracks (25 if you count the Death Race vertical oval).
......
And then there's the occasional AI killer track where the only real challenge is to not dive off the edge with everyone else...
Yeah it's pretty fun to see the 29 computer opponents being unable to handle a glitchy curve and all plunge down toward the planet surface one after the other so that you win on walkover. Ah I have to finish the F-Zero anime...

anikom15
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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by anikom15 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 12:48 pm

That F-Zero X is a perfect explanation on the limitations of procedural generation.

I think it’s a combination of laziness and a myth that randomization equals depth. Chess is a deterministic game and certainly has far more depth than solitaire, for example.

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Re: What is with indie games and procedural generation?

Post by Oziphantom » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:07 pm

The problem, I feel, the OP has is not that Procedural games exist. They are valid cases for them and they have their uses. Just how Indie devs treat it as a Fad, and slap it on everything to generate excitement. It's the video game Avocado or Red Velvet.

And well because adding it cuts development time to about a 1/3.

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