Author Topic: Pro-D, a procedural terrain generator we've made was selected for sale event :)  (Read 23139 times)

reaver

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 207
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Devs have the right to sell it at whatever price they like, we have the right to comment however we like. My earlier complaining comment about the price was after seeing the screenshots and playing around with the demo:
http://graylakestudios.com/graylakestudios/uas/prod/prod_webplayer_editor/

I now took the time to see the generator a bit more in depth.

The demo was limited to 55x55 maps, I presume for performance reasons, as each 55x55 map takes about 150ms to generate.
The cavern generation is awful, as the parameter combos that make a meaningful map are few. Most produce white noise.
"Alternative dungeon" that's just lazy: you create a set of non-intersecting rectangles, and connect them randomly?? so some lines pass through others? you could at least do a distance check and connect them based on proximity.
"Obstacle biome" looks like white noise with the default parameters (but w/h = 55)
"Perlin biome"  looks like white noise with the default parameters (but w/h = 55)
"Rocky hill"  looks like white noise with the default parameters (but w/h = 55)
"Stick Biome"  looks like horizontally stretched white noise with the default parameters (but w/h = 55)
"Stick Dungeon"  looks like horizontally stretched fat white noise with the default parameters (but w/h = 55)
"Round rooms" so that's "Alternative dungeon" but with circular rooms. You could have the room shape as a parameter and have a single generator.
"Dwarf town" that's intersecting rectangles. Not sure what makes it a dwarf town and not a town from a different race.

So the generators are optimized for 29x29 maps (the default) and if you change the size, you need new parameters, which makes the development a PAIN. And they're actually 2 or 3, the rest are just different invisible parameters, like room shape, perlin seed and frequency changing at best.

It's not cheap if it saves you 2 hours of work - who's getting paid premium rate for developing roguelikes anyway? Otherwise, let me know of any roguelike coding you need, and my price can be less than $35 per hour :)

Anyway, my constructive and honest comment is that most of your generators need a TON of work, performance-wise and parameter-space-wise, that's all. Instead of focusing on monetisation strategies, try to make something that works better.

Krice

  • (Banned)
  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2316
  • Karma: +0/-2
    • View Profile
    • Email
Instead of focusing on monetisation strategies, try to make something that works better.

I guess the tools in Unity are all about monetization. Actually Unity itself is for those developers who actively are seeking to get money from game development and players who are willing to pay for crappy Unity games. I don't know any good Unity games, but some of them may exist. Roguelike development is more hard core and I like to believe that most developers are experienced programmers who are not fooled by empty promises.

mushroom patch

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 554
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
While I'm somewhat perturbed by the hostility toward commercializing a game library, if the criticism that it's just a bunch of algorithms off roguebasin, inexpertly implemented, is accurate, I can see it.

I think the problem is that you've come to a place where people think these algorithms are worth thinking about and understanding, that progress relies not on implementing them, but producing meaningful variations on them, and having actual ideas. Packaging them for bad CS students to make some garbage to pitch to Steam or an iPhone app kind of cuts against type here. (I should say, I think this is true of most frequent posters.)

Actually, I like that you posted this, because the reaction clarifies certain things and in a more flattering light than I might have expected.

Omnivore

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
I think the problem is that you've come to a place where people think these algorithms are worth thinking about and understanding, that progress relies not on implementing them, but producing meaningful variations on them, and having actual ideas.

Definitely agree.   

My reaction came from a background of 30+ years of being a hobbyist in the field of roguelike game programming.  Never have produced much in the way of finished product, but that's never been a serious goal.  Rather the goal has been to explore the possibilities, to understand and refine the art, above all, to learn.  From that perspective, products like the OP is offering are anathema, an argument could even be made that they impede progress.  However in the commercial Unity3D world, it fits in with most 3rd party offerings, at least from what I understand.

@TheCreator: sort of, but a discussion about that would derail the thread.

chooseusername

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
While I'm somewhat perturbed by the hostility toward commercializing a game library, if the criticism that it's just a bunch of algorithms off roguebasin, inexpertly implemented, is accurate, I can see it.

I think the problem is that you've come to a place where people think these algorithms are worth thinking about and understanding, that progress relies not on implementing them, but producing meaningful variations on them, and having actual ideas. Packaging them for bad CS students to make some garbage to pitch to Steam or an iPhone app kind of cuts against type here. (I should say, I think this is true of most frequent posters.)

Actually, I like that you posted this, because the reaction clarifies certain things and in a more flattering light than I might have expected.
What flattering light?

chooseusername

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
From that perspective, products like the OP is offering are anathema, an argument could even be made that they impede progress.  However in the commercial Unity3D world, it fits in with most 3rd party offerings, at least from what I understand.
No, it's in the nature of providing pre-compiled functionality for developers to use.  I used to compile against third party libraries which we didn't have source code for, and you'd have bugs you'd have to kind of find by avoiding passing certain input in.  And the time it would take for fixes to arrive, if they were ever going to be released..  It's a bad model.

The way it can work, is if the seller licenses his code under the GPL so that freedoms are constrained.  Then anyone who wants to use it, can debug it, and extend it, but they can use any other license than GPL if they pay to get the code under a more free license.  Like Quake.  But I doubt that fits into the Unity store, in a way that impulse purchases are encouraged.

Nothing wrong with derailing.  We're all reinventing wheels, perhaps ones that can leave the tracks.

jlund3

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
I think the problem is that you've come to a place where people think these algorithms are worth thinking about and understanding, that progress relies not on implementing them, but producing meaningful variations on them, and having actual ideas.

This is exactly the reason why I've asked the OP (twice) what (if any) contributions this package makes in the space of algorithmic innovation. Since I see none, I cannot see much reason to recommend it.

erhanofgraylake

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
A few questions have piled up. I am sorry but there is the time zone difference... Let us begin :)

Quote
This is exactly the reason why I've asked the OP (twice) what (if any) contributions this package makes in the space of algorithmic innovation. Since I see none, I cannot see much reason to recommend it.

We are not making "innovations", that is unless you want to see how we've implemented a dungeon generator on Unity. That being said even the simplest dungeon generator can be unique with a little bit of work. I am reiterating that the package is not selling algorithms (which means I said it at least twice), it is selling a framework you can use to set a dungeon generator with little to no effort. The algorithms we put there are examples of what you can create yourselves. Some of which we are proud of as they are unique, some of which are implemented based on freely available pseudocode.

We have one castle generator that is yet not in the "pictures and demos" except for the blog, and it is quite fun for us to play with it. This is to show what the product is capable of and that lets people create a variety of algorithms.

The demos are intended for similar purposes. It is a surface view of a tool that goes much deeper. It shows the basic shack you can build with the hammers and pliers that are in the box.

Quote
The demo was limited to 55x55 maps, I presume for performance reasons, as each 55x55 map takes about 150ms to generate.

...

It's not cheap if it saves you 2 hours of work - who's getting paid premium rate for developing roguelikes anyway? Otherwise, let me know of any roguelike coding you need, and my price can be less than $35 per hour :)

Anyway, my constructive and honest comment is that most of your generators need a TON of work, performance-wise and parameter-space-wise, that's all. Instead of focusing on monetization strategies, try to make something that works better.



We have recently fixed a major optimization mishap, making the whole thing limit to the number types of tiles you generate, not the number of individual tiles. There is gimmick in Unity3D to make sprites load in an order so that they get batched. Otherwise the drawcalls go over the top chugging it all out. So greater the dungeon you generate, more visible the optimization is, I've created 200x200 dungeons on android devices without problem. You can see more on that on the r/prod subreddit. Thanks btw, for your critique of our individual algorithms. We've have very limited time play with them.

Unless you can setup everything we already did in several months in less than 2 hours, I suspect that your claim is impossible. Also 18$ an hour is pretty cheap in European standards. Rent alone here is an arm and a leg. So it really depends. It is a free market after all, and the best way to prove us wrong is to get out there and do it, and show us that we are overcharging by providing a similar package at a low cost. Just a heads up, I hear some people at the forums can be a extremely critical of your hard work, so you have to be extra nice to them and leave little room for misunderstandings, and explain everything, while being assertive yet not offensive, which takes considerable amount of time. :) Nobody's getting paid premium for that I can tell you right now.

Monetization strategies are important. No money, no bread, no bread, no development. Besides, we do not get to select when a sales event occurs. Unity does. It did, so I attempted to inform this forum of the opportunity. Gods forgive me, had I known, I would have thunk twice. :)

You can never polish something to perfection, at some point you have to think about making money out of it. I've seen countless startups go down under (australia) for that reason, getting stuck in "perfect product cycle of doom". With a small team, and no financial help you may as well jump down a cliff and wonder why your product is not selling :(. Even big companies fail at it, and believe me, it is not because they are evil. (they are evil though, in other ways)

The important thing is this: are people who buy your product happy? Does the package contain what it says it does. They are the ones you should care about. If they start hating you, you either quit, or try to fix things. I hope we will never have to quit.

Still even 75 is pretty cheap for what we're offering, even if it saves you a work week. We are thinking about doubling the price after the next update.


Quote
Packaging them for bad CS students to make some garbage to pitch to Steam or an iPhone app kind of cuts against type here.

We really did not have such an intention. We also despise bad CS students making garbage sales pitches on steam. How dare they, trying their hand at game production, sacrilege! :D

Joking aside, I was a bad CS student at some point. Then I got better, but I was really horrible till then. Since then I've seen worse students than I was, people who vehemently don't want to comment, people who have no coding conventions, people who do not know what a paradigm is... I went down the memory lane there for a sec.

We wanted to create a fast and easy way  to implement simple dungeon generators in Unity. It is for any level of programmers, starters or masters, for any sort of purpose. I am sure we've been used by roguelike developers and noob students alike, but we hope using our tool, they all had a chance to get better as programmers. Or hated our guts... Still, our code is clean, well documented, and altogether pleasant, if not we would like to listen to feedback to make it so, to best of our ability.

Although I dislike watering down of the market with sub-par products (cue snickering developers who think I am guilty of that very crime) I believe it is a proterozoic development soup, some organisms are sure shitty, but let the evolution take its course. Some of those shitty CS students will get better. We're good in some parts and not so good in others. There is plenty of room for improvement. For which this forum is proving to be a pretty unbridled source of pointers. :D

Quote
My reaction came from a background of 30+ years of being a hobbyist in the field of roguelike game programming.  Never have produced much in the way of finished product, but that's never been a serious goal.  Rather the goal has been to explore the possibilities, to understand and refine the art, above all, to learn.  From that perspective, products like the OP is offering are anathema, an argument could even be made that they impede progress.  However in the commercial Unity3D world, it fits in with most 3rd party offerings, at least from what I understand.

Do people who sell hamburgers impede the art of hamburger making? I am not sure. I've been a hobbyist 30+ years of hamburger making, exploring the possibilities, understanding and refining the art, never really having much in the way of a finished product. Never have I once thought the corner restaurant is an anathema. Maybe I should have. After all the burger pseudocode is public and can be glanced at at the Burgerbasin. :D Here it is

Code: [Select]
Ingredients [] burger = {bun, mayo, tomato, lettuce, onion, mustard, patty, ketchup, pickle, bun}
My burger analogy may be flawed, please take it with a light heart. I tried to point out that knowledge of making a burger is free, and that should not prevent people using that knowledge to make burgers and sell them. Of course there is the issues of service, physical material, rent, etc. But can we really argue that a development studio do not have those costs? Maybe I should start mailing some buns to people who purchase Pro-D.

We really are not an anathema. We are not impeding the roguelike community. Claims like these are beyond comprehension. 30+ years of hobbying you can easily make something like this, even thousand times better, please do so and give it away for free. For us it takes time, effort, and money so we are selling it.

Now you may argue that the filthy peasant programmers, and 12 year old steam wannabes will flood the world with  their ugly dungeons thanks to the tool we've made. It is a risk I am willing to take.


Quote
Hmm, I imagine you folks alongside the rest of creation saw Epic's big grant play earlier today then?  I should think your toolset might well be a good contender for a jolt of monetary vigor to get it the rest of the way and get in on the ground floor as it were:

unholy Xom! I had not seen this, Thanks a lot @getter77, we'll get down to it right away.


Quote

No, it's in the nature of providing pre-compiled functionality for developers to use.  I used to compile against third party libraries which we didn't have source code for, and you'd have bugs you'd have to kind of find by avoiding passing certain input in.  And the time it would take for fixes to arrive, if they were ever going to be released..  It's a bad model.

The way it can work, is if the seller licenses his code under the GPL so that freedoms are constrained.  Then anyone who wants to use it, can debug it, and extend it, but they can use any other license than GPL if they pay to get the code under a more free license.  Like Quake.  But I doubt that fits into the Unity store, in a way that impulse purchases are encouraged.

Nothing wrong with derailing.  We're all reinventing wheels, perhaps ones that can leave the tracks.




Our package is not pre-compiled if that is what you are getting at. The demo is, but our code has full access. It is not possible to publish something on Unity Asset Store to be pre-compiled :D. I realized that it is, but Pro-D has no libraries or pre-compiled code. The demo showcases what can be done with the product. It, in itself is not the product :)

But, yeah, derailing is fun, I believe that roguelikes are awesome and are genetic building blocks that can make beautiful things. Any way to make it more accessible is awesome, especially if people are making money out of it, which means more full time roguelike developers, and more beautiful things.

A final public announcement, even our simplest maze generator is hand implemented by free range chickens, and is 100% fair trade.  Seriously though we are two brothers, trying to make something fun with roguelike generators and make some money out of it so that we can keep working at it full time. If you do not like it, I do not understand that, but I am not here to make you like it. I am here to share something we did, and we're proud of. Thanks for all the critique and support.


For the sake of brevity I will not be posting any Pro-D related news in this forum, if you are interested here's the link to the newsletter. We really do not spam :)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Y_zN-sf_MExE-2j6n4k_g4tMZC-g-Z2ek6IXkS82d9w/viewform

You can reach us at the subreddit for Pro-D related programming discussions.

www.reddit.com/r/prod

« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 02:05:00 PM by erhanofgraylake »

getter77

  • Protector of the Temple
  • Global Moderator
  • Rogueliker
  • *****
  • Posts: 4954
  • Karma: +3/-1
    • View Profile
1. I do hope you stick around in general erhanofgraylake---as this IS a place that welcomes Roguelikery from pretty well all angles,  tools to aid in wrangling as well.   Good luck on the hopeful UE4 grant, especially since...

2. It is worth bearing in mind to folks that, from all I've stalked on it from many users great and small, Unity is at least a fair bit of Suffering---possessing potential to make nifty things in the end, sure, but a macabre and oft inscrutable Maze of Duct Tape and Daggers...the former largely being what holds vast swathes of it together alongside more unpolished legacy cruft than a keyboard from the 90's continually operated until the present day.   As such, things like this that attempt to weave something of a manageable path through the muck to allow people a bit more of a fighting chance despite the Engine itself often largely working against them are definitely a thing of value that took some degree of effort to implement.
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training

Omnivore

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
So, this is more or less the Unity3D equivalent of MonoGame/XNA's RogueSharp https://bitbucket.org/FaronBracy/roguesharp/ library?  Main difference, other than platform, being price?  ($75 vs FLOSS - MIT license).  I guess the $75 is for 3D vs 2D?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 01:47:59 PM by Omnivore »

reaver

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 207
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
So, this is more or less the Unity3D equivalent of MonoGame/XNA's RogueSharp https://bitbucket.org/FaronBracy/roguesharp/ library?  Main difference, other than platform, being price?  ($75 vs FLOSS - MIT license).  I guess the $75 is for 3D vs 2D?

I'd expect because Unity is more shitty to program with, and has potentially many more people who are willing so give such money. And apparently it could be soon $150.

Also, Erhan, here you can expect to find people who WILL be critical of your work, because THEY'RE DOING THE SAME. We're not just consumers here, to give you a clap if you just get something working. If I come here showcasing my dungeon generator, I'd be unhappy if everybody just says "cool", I'd expect some feedback. Also, question: say you create dungeons procedurally, how do you place monsters, NPCs, traps, loot, props and the rest? Manually? Do you have any abstractions for the map rather a grid with values "wall","floor","door"?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 02:22:41 PM by reaver »

erhanofgraylake

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
1. I do hope you stick around in general erhanofgraylake---as this IS a place that welcomes Roguelikery from pretty well all angles,  tools to aid in wrangling as well.   Good luck on the hopeful UE4 grant, especially since...

2. It is worth bearing in mind to folks that, from all I've stalked on it from many users great and small, Unity is at least a fair bit of Suffering---possessing potential to make nifty things in the end, sure, but a macabre and oft inscrutable Maze of Duct Tape and Daggers...the former largely being what holds vast swathes of it together alongside more unpolished legacy cruft than a keyboard from the 90's continually operated until the present day.   As such, things like this that attempt to weave something of a manageable path through the muck to allow people a bit more of a fighting chance despite the Engine itself often largely working against them are definitely a thing of value that took some degree of effort to implement.

Heh, sure I'll stick around, we visit the temple every once in a while anyway. Thanks. I simply do not want to post updates about Pro-D here, then it seems like it is too much of a self promotion. Instead if the people here like Pro-D I am sure they will post things themselves. If not, we always post on r/roguelikes r/roguelikedev and even get on the IRC channel, and other various subreddits which are more promotion oriented.

Unity can be a heap of trouble at times. It is our heap of trouble though. We've gotten used to its flaws. Overall, I'd say you got some pretty accurate analogies there... I mean lots of people in indie games still work with gamemaker, Unity is there between Gamemaker, and UE4 for me. With some proper programming it can be plenty strong. We've made brain wave reading learning algorithms, ant path optimizers, random generators, particle hells. Unity made all those possible, for free. And now it is earning us the keep for our efforts. For a startup I would certainly recommend it.

My major beef with unity is the CEO's choice of wearing popped collar shirts.


erhanofgraylake

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
So, this is more or less the Unity3D equivalent of MonoGame/XNA's RogueSharp https://bitbucket.org/FaronBracy/roguesharp/ library?  Main difference, other than platform, being price?  ($75 vs FLOSS - MIT license).  I guess the $75 is for 3D vs 2D?

I'd expect because Unity is more shitty to program with, and has potentially many more people who are willing so give such money. And apparently it could be soon $150.

Also, Erhan, here you can expect to find people who WILL be critical of your work, because THEY'RE DOING THE SAME. We're not just consumers here, to give you a clap if you just get something working. If I come here showcasing my dungeon generator, I'd be unhappy if everybody just says "cool", I'd expect some feedback. Also, question: say you create dungeons procedurally, how do you place monsters, NPCs, traps, loot, props and the rest? Manually? Do you have any abstractions for the map rather a grid with values "wall","floor","door"?

Sure, I appreciate the critical thought, we got some real good lessons, no sarcasm intended. Your comment specifically was very nice. Thanks for spending time with the demo.

For an answer to your question you can check our roguebasin page.

http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=Pro-D

Afaik we do not have a prop placement algorithm in place except for doors and entrance/exit. We are working on it though. There may be one for randomly placing objects in it. I really cannot remember, maybe we are keeping it for the next update. I will check it out answer in a few days. Till then it is not in the features list, so I would not count on it :).

erhanofgraylake

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
So, this is more or less the Unity3D equivalent of MonoGame/XNA's RogueSharp https://bitbucket.org/FaronBracy/roguesharp/ library?  Main difference, other than platform, being price?  ($75 vs FLOSS - MIT license).  I guess the $75 is for 3D vs 2D?

I have not used RogueSharp. I cannot tell if it is the same thing or not. I would suspect not. "Main difference other than the platform" is a huge difference. You cannot really compare the two. If you want to use Unity, RogueSharp may be near useless. If you want develop from scratch Pro-D may be completely useless. 2 really different things.

chooseusername

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Our package is not pre-compiled if that is what you are getting at. The demo is, but our code has full access. It is not possible to publish something on Unity Asset Store to be pre-compiled :D. I realized that it is, but Pro-D has no libraries or pre-compiled code. The demo showcases what can be done with the product. It, in itself is not the product :)

Okay, thanks for letting me know.  I was wrong and assumed the worst of Unity.  It sounds like they've gone for an approach that favours productive development.

A final public announcement, even our simplest maze generator is hand implemented by free range chickens, and is 100% fair trade.  Seriously though we are two brothers, trying to make something fun with roguelike generators and make some money out of it so that we can keep working at it full time. If you do not like it, I do not understand that, but I am not here to make you like it. I am here to share something we did, and we're proud of. Thanks for all the critique and support.
It's good you've taken it so well.  But this forum is full of opinionated programmers who're going to post thoughts and concerns.  You can't expect people to hold back and give you a pass, just because you're doing something for yourselves.  Good luck with it.