Spicing up adventure RPGs: Random map generation

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by BORTZ, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. BORTZ
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    BORTZ "Another stunning Van Gogh"

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    With our new old buddy Ryu starting some pretty interesting discussions around here, he has inspired me to try my hands at coming up with a worth while topic. So here I go! This is something that I have been thinking about for a while, and I am wondering what you all thought.

    The idea I would like to bring to the table is "map generation". Now up front I would like to say that "I know, I know, this will NOT work with EVERY game out there". In fact map design is very important to most games. From shooters to racing games, random maps would basically break the game in many aspects.

    Where I feel this mechanic could be useful are games with a heavy emphasis on exploration. Think large world RPGs like Skyrim or FarCry 3. Games where there is no REAL reasoning where towns, caves, landmarks are placed could be randomized in a way that really makes for a unique adventure each time.

    I got really take by this idea when I played the original Dragon Warrior Monsters. The game was structured in a way that you enter a warp gate with loose governing restrictions on the environments. The warp gates sent you though a set of 4 to 27 mazes generated new each time you enter the world with predetermined pieces.

    This really helped with a lot of the grinding the game required you to do to get your monsters up to respectable levels so you could breed them again and start over. I ALWAYS preferred that to grinding in a pokemon game, one monster (pokemon) at a time, running up and down the same stretch of grass and running back to the pokacenter every 4 battles, then back to the same stretch of grass...

    I think a governed use of a map randomizer could lead to some very interesting games, experience and ultimately a more engrossing game play experience. I cant help but get this feeling that "everyone" who plays the same games as me has already played the exact same levels and I feel like im following in their footsteps... But with a good map generator, that feeling would be eliminated, giving you your very own adventure, never played by anyone else before or ever again.

    The downsides would be things that games really already have to deal with. In this case, probably the feeling of sparse maps and boring design, without proper generation specs. Much like most "open world" games already feel. The second thing hampering this is probably development costs. Building an engine just to create maps would probably be a pretty heavy wallet shot to most companies.

    What does the community think?
     
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  2. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    I forgot
    I think it would be...interesting to see a game like Skyrim put in a random setting each time. But I don't think it would work out all that well with RPG games, as it'd have to generate quests for the particular map each time, and doing so would sort of limit the options to "go fetch x item at y location" or "Kill x at y location", which is essentially the bane of RPGs. That's what you get with something like Cube World, a randomly generated RPG whose only quests are limited to clearing randomly generated dungeons and killing randomly generated bosses. While the game is initially...fun (to some), eventually gameplay gets boring and stale.

    Though I do think we're getting to a point where something like this is possible, to be able to generate a main static quest with randomly generated maps, perhaps maybe the next big Elder Scrolls game (besides Online).

    Other genres I'm still not sure of. With FPS games you'd sort of be left with just generating various obstacles to hide behind/in for multiplayer. Racing games would work pretty well. We already have randomly generated platformers and such.
     
  3. Ryukouki

    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    I was mentioned! YAY! :D

    And do not even get me started on Dragon Warrior Monsters... I played the shit out of that game. I miss randomized environments! :(
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    The usual term is procedural generation -- http://pcg.wikidot.com/ . It is not a new thing (see Elite), it is not a commonly used thing (see not many games use it) and it is a tricky thing (see most that try it will "cheat" and have preset points but random paths between them, see something like Dungeon Siege) but it is used -- http://pcg.wikidot.com/category-pcg-games.