Author Topic: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^  (Read 3688 times)

WraithGlade

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Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« on: November 03, 2012, 06:59:22 AM »

Hello everyone, I'm new to the community so I figured I'd introduce myself briefly.

Most of my gaming experience has been with playing games from the commercial game industry plus some free/open-source games. Throughout my gaming experience though I've always had a very strong interest in games that featured procedural content generation and frequently sought to find more of them. I would occasionally find commercial games with some procedural generation, but for the most part it was uncommon. Random map generation was always one of my most sought after features in any game I was interested in.

Somehow despite all my extensive searching for games with random map generation, I somehow never became aware of the existence of Roguelikes. I've only recently became aware of the Roguelike genre's existence, but procedural generation is just about as close to my heart as any game feature could be.

I've been reading through PCG Wiki, RogueBasin, and various related sites extensively lately when I've had the free time. In fact, I originally became aware of the Roguelike genre through a combination of reading PCG Wiki and hearing about Dwarf Fortress (DF was the first ASCII based visual game I'd ever seen).

I've also been listening to Roguelike Radio (http://www.roguelikeradio.com/) and it's been quite enjoyable. I particularly like the fact that the contributors have such objective and deep conversations about game design that I haven't ever found anywhere else. In contrast, a lot of mainstream game design conversations I've heard in-person amount to little more than people talking about wanting to copy some already existing game with unsubstantial variation or spewing out nonsense advocating certain game design philosophies that only serve to make the industry more stagnant. It's nice to have a more thoughtful and farsighted perspective on things. The mainstream industry can be almost painfully uninteresting and arrogant on occasion. I give my thanks to the various Roguelike Radio contributors.

Anyway, as for myself I'm an aspiring game developer currently studying computer science in college, with a concentration in game design, and I'm about to graduate after this year. I also have a strong math background and I sometimes do a little bit of music composition and sound editing. Recently, I've started doing some digital 3D model sculpting and am finding it surprisingly easy, especially considering I have no background in art. I'm planning on taking it up as another hobby. It really is surprisingly easy to make good looking 3D models, I've found. I'm primarily a programmer, but I'm a jack of all trades somewhat with respect to some parts of the other disciplines. I'm absolutely determined to make my living in the game industry.

Procedural content generation (or "dynamic content generation" as I usually call it) is really something I've always been passionate about. It's my favorite subject in programming and I'm hoping to specialize in it when I work in the game industry. Working on dynamic content generation as my life would be awesome. It's just really the most interesting subject out there I think.

You can definitely expect a game using procedural content generation from me in the future (probably in full 3D), and some general PCG development contributions also. I've got some concrete new ideas for PCG that I haven't seen anywhere on these sites and I plan to implement them sometime soon in the future.

Oh, and in terms of design philosophy that you guys can relate to, my design philosophies are closer to streamlined/minimalist (i.e. think Brogue, DoomRL, etc). I prefer highly polished and streamlined games that focus on truly deep gameplay mechanics, rather than bloated and clumsy games.

(This brief intro sure got long...)

Alex E

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2012, 07:18:46 AM »
Welcome, WraithGlade!

guest509

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 03:51:35 AM »
  Welcome Mr. Wall of Text!!! :-)

  Yes, the Radio show sure is a hit with me. The discussion is spot on. I tried listening to other podcasts and it just seems like a bunch of kids messing around. Really. Are there any other good ones concerning gaming?

  As far as PCG it certainly is fascinating. Many in this community participate in the 7DRL competition, pounding out a quick RL in just 7 days. Fully featured games in a short period are definitely possible with a solid PCG engine.

  If you like the quick takes on the genre some of those 7DRL's are fantastic. The top 5 finishers over the last several years are depressingly good. I say depressing because I've entered for 3 years in a row, and my product is almost embarassing compared to Viscious Orcs, Princess RL, etc...

  So if you want to make games, I have some advice. Make a game! We love 'em. We don't just develop here, we play!

-JO

EDIT: I also want to add that we are pretty open to different ideas and influences from other genres. We tend to get pretty snobby about procedural content and permadeath, and the replayability gained via the interplay of the 2. Other than that we are super flexible about 'what is a roguelike'. Some are more open than others, but even games with graphics, sound and real time mechanics will find at least some audience in this subniche of the indie community.

requerent

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 05:43:19 AM »
If you're interested in 3D proceduralism you might consider thinking about using it to generate aesthetic themes that cue visual narrative elements that influence gameplay in a significant way.

For example, you can procedurally generate a materials with properties that, when applied to objects or enemies, indicate to the player what sort of considerations that need to make when encountering that element.

If you're interested in 3d sculpting, you can create isomorphic meshes (that is, they have the same number of vertices enumerated in the same way) and then generate a nearly infinite number of meshes through weighted interpolations between 2 or more of these isomorphic base meshes (would also work with rigs and could work with UVs as well-- might fall short on normal mapping though). If you're interested in procedurally generating everything in a 3d environment, then this is a good technique to get a lot of interesting randomly generated monsters.

Have you worked with any 3d game engines before?

Darren Grey

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 10:37:34 AM »
Welcome to the forums!  And glad you like the radio show  :)

If interested in 3D procedural stuff, be sure to check out Proteus, In Ruins and the ProcWorld blog.  Just be warned that some will depress you with just how amazing they are  ;)

WraithGlade

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 04:22:44 AM »

Hey, thanks for all the responses.

I am indeed interested in 3D procedural, but I've been thinking of perhaps working with 2D gameplay (with 3D graphics) first for a while to get practice. Plus, from a game design perspective part of the appeal of 2D is that having fewer dimensions makes things more streamlined and 2D games often require less mental energy in some sense. I've been bouncing the idea back and forth for a while.

And yeah, I often find it pretty intimidating how much great stuff is being produced lately, but its all well and good. A lot of people sure are doing Minecraft engines lately.

@Darren:
Thanks for the links and the welcome. Good to hear from one of the radio show people.

@requerent:
Visual cues are indeed important. It's certainly a very good point . The value of feedback mechanisms (like visual cues and sound) and a smooth user interface can't be understated. It really brings games to life. Atmosphere is important to me and it's something I've been thinking about.

And yes, I've worked some with 3D engines before, but not as extensively as I would have liked to by now.

As for making a roguelike, I'm thinking of maybe using Unity. It would be interesting if there was a nice voxel system, but its seems like that could too easily add unnecessary complexity. I'll probably use straight cubes, because it makes the generation logic more flexible because it's so much easier to understand.

@Jo:
Yeah, I looked at some of the 7DRL and they have some pretty awesome concepts. I looked at Man in the Mirror, Vicious Orcs, Nightfall, Demon Hunt, and maybe others(?). Maybe I'll do a 7DRL one day myself if I find the time when it comes around.

@everyone again:

Turn based games and real time games both have their relative merits.

I'm definitely into the Roguelike design philosophy, with respect to the core gameplay feel, character, thrill of struggling to survive, and actions having real consequences etc. The more superficial qualities such as ASCII text and so on I just consider to be tools in a tool box and not an essential part of any roguelike. ASCII text is well suited for a making game design sketches without the art overhead, but has some major limitations in other respects (not just visual limitations , but gameplay ones too).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to working to working on some PCG and Roguelike stuff in the future and using the forums.

NOTE: As a minor clarification to my first post in the thread, one should note that when I said that I'd be putting out a roguelike of some kind "soon" I meant soon in a relative way. I'm a busy college student and I'm mostly new to PCG, so we're talking more on the scale of 6 months+ potentially before anything comes out. Thanks.

PS: This post was supposed to be short too... I must confess I have a history of making long posts on forums... :)

Quendus

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2012, 11:37:05 AM »
6 months is soon in the roguelike world :)

guest509

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Re: Hello Procedural El Dorado ^_^
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 11:40:53 AM »
  Yeah man don't feel pressure to release soon, if ever. This is a hobby community. You know, for FUN!