Aside 58: Procedural Drama

I am starting to feel like procedural generation is a very selfish way to build a game.

Think about it. The algorithms are devilishly fun and satisfying to implement, for the creator, and the resulting game can surprise that creator with unanticipated combinations.

But a procedurally generated level cannot deliver the same level of depth as a hand-crafted one, or at least, not with humanity’s current level of technology and algorithmic understanding.

Plus, adding permadeath to that means you don’t need a saving system at all — no death and reload, but death and set the generator going again. Easier for the developer, because state saving and loading is Hard.

Which is fine until you start asking people to give you money for your game, which is when you probably need to focus more on their experiences as players than your own as a developer.

Having said that, my level design skills and technological capabilities are extremely rusty, so my first forays into singleplayer dungeon crawling are almost certainly going to be procedural — since I have already done a heap of procedural work for other shits and giggles and I love building interlocking modular props. But rest assured, no matter how much effort I pour into making the computer generate endless time-sinking but ultimately hollow missinos, my heart lies in my hands.

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