Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Procedural Generation Jam 2014!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 22, 2014

Okay, I don’t know if there’s any way I can NOT participate in this one:

Procedural Generation Jam 2014

As I was told in one tweet, “We’re going to be a really laid-back jam – nine days, generous time limits, very casual and happy.” The theme is optional. I haven’t seen anything about prizes. It’s just… fun.

I’ve been a fan of procedural generation in games since I first played Telengard on my Commodore 64 thirty years ago. (Wow… that’s a long time!)  And Frontier: Elite II on my 486 twenty years ago. (Wow… that’s a long time!) And Daggerfall on my Pentium … just a little under twenty years ago (Wow… yeah, you know).

I’ve got some procedurally generated content in FK2. I’ve got ideas floating in my head for more. I think part of it stems from an underlying laziness – I want my computer to make games for me so I don’t have to. But of course, I want it to make games for me according to my exacting specifications.

Anyway, I’ve had a bunch of little ideas running through my head for a while. Should I take a week off of FK2 – or at least partly off – and spend some time making something weird but cool with procedurally generated content? Or just a content generator? I had some bare-bones 3D roguelike dungeon generation code I experimented with one weekend. Hmmmmm…..

Perhaps more important than the jam itself is the kick-off, with talks by a number of game developers on the first day. This, in my mind, is The Big Event, on November 8th. I don’t want to miss that one. Hopefully they’ll also be recorded and put up on YouTube as well.  ‘Cuz as much as I want to hear them, I don’t know if I want to skip sleeping at all on a Friday night to hear them in my time zone.

Anyway – November 8th. This looks like it will be fun and educational. My contribution may not represent a full nine days of effort, but if my schedule isn’t killing me, I may go for this one. It sounds just too cool to pass up.

Filed Under: Game Development, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    I’m 50/50 on this one.

    The idea of the “Virtual DM” balancing the RPG requires me to… you know… write a freaking RPG. I’m not sure confident I could accomplish that over a single week.

    Even my ideas to simplify it into a reasonable scale are too experimental for my comfort level.

    Though…. technically I think its fair game to start programming an RPG now and by coincidence use the same engine for the event. No one would complain.

  • Anon said,

    My opinion is that some content can or even should be created procedurally, while other contents mustn’t – and it very much depends on the type of game, too.

    The key element – or seed, if you will – of procedural content (whether it’s graphics, level design, plot elements etc.) is randomness. With some things this just doesn’t sit well with me, while others certainly love it.

    A randomized maze, for example, makes sense in a game like Telengard or, better, Sword of Fargoal – because those games aren’t epics. They are just dungeon crawlers like Defender is a shoot’em up. The fun in those games is always “Will there be a big room with loot or a monster this time – or not?” and “Survive as long as possible!”.

    A big, epic RPG like the Elder Scroll games or the Ultimas on the other hand are offering the exact same world to be entered by anyone and they offer enough content to live in that world for quite some time.
    Yes, randomizing the dungeon levels in those games would perhaps speed up development but on the other hand make them feel more generic.

    With a fixed universe the players can exchange stories how they conquered the game world and found their -handcrafted- secrets, the special places of beauty a generator can’t create. See Skyrim for an example where a developer stepped back and created more content by hand because part of the game world felt to generic to the players.

    Yes, by all means have procedurally generated textures so that the walls, water etc. doesn’t look the same all the time – think microcosmos here!
    But don’t create randomized mazes, folks, because it’s relatively easy to do – you will alienate a part of the audience!