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Poll: World generation methods. (12 votes)
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World Creation: Random or Detailed? (Forums : Ideas & Concepts : World Creation: Random or Detailed?) Locked
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Jan 9 2013, 7:58pm Anchor

So I've been tossing around an idea for a while about an RPG about exploration. That's right, a game where the point is go out, explore, expand, and write your own stories. But this thread isn't about that, it's about world generation. For a while, I've been trying to decide between a randomly generated world(e.g. Dwarf Fortress) or a hand-crafted world(e.g. Morrowind). Both have advantages, but could you combine them? A randomly generated world gives you something new every time, a world that feels like it's your own, OTHO, it would lack the solid ground and detail that a hand-crafted world could offer. A hand-crafted world gives you the ability to create epic quest-lines in a detailed world, but everything is the always the same. But combine them? It seems impossible, right? But what if you create a landmass, add in whatever is necessary(quests, NPC, cities, ect.) and let the computer do the rest? I find what I'm talking about hard to explain, but I'm trying. Maybe you could even have the computer set the quest-related cities in random spots? A world with randomly generated landmarks, caves, ruins, and more? Is it possible, or am I just dreaming? Tell me what you all think on the subject.

Jan 9 2013, 8:27pm Anchor

Even though my project is in a different genre, and is persistant, I'll share my thoughts on it with you.
I did what you said, and combined a crafted world with a completely random via CPU-Value generation. Its possible, at least in persistant space games MMOs. I can line out a basic thing for you, for understandable reasons I will not disclose how my SyStream works.
Player A gets thrown into a universe crafted by the creators of the game and the already exploring players.
Player A flies into an undiscovered direction, hoping for Anomaly B.
Once Game determines Anomaly B should pop up, a sapshot of the current CPU calculation value is taken and used as a seed for a new system.
Player A can enter a whole new Dimension/System now, completely randomly created, from planets, to space background, over belts and can start conquering it with friends.
To save network space only THIS very SEED is sent out to all players and hardplugged into the CPU when they enter the system so they have the same system as the discovering player.
You see, a handcrafted, but at the same time randomly expanding world is possible, even with quests and all. Just let it trigger a function you wrote before on random occasions to set quest softpoints there.

TheD3X, Lead Coder, Sirius Online: Empires Rising Development Team
veKtor studios UG

Jan 9 2013, 8:45pm Anchor

It depends on the game; the concept behind it, the way it's meant to be played, all that. Just to look at one specific genre of game, the space sandbox:

Vendetta Online uses a fully hand-crafted environment. It's small, there's not a lot of territory that needed to be created, so it can get away with it. It's a small team though, so that meant re-using a lot of assets.

CCP procedurally generated all of the systems (position, connections to other systems, etc.) but hand=crafted everything within them. There are a LOT of systems though, so that meant re-using assets to reduce their artists' workload.

Infinity: The Quest for Earth and Elite: Dangerous will both be using fully procedurally generated universes with procedurally place hand-crafted assets. This is because the universe in each will be HUGE and trying to hand-craft those universes would be impossible, not to mention that it would make both games take up huge amounts of space on the user's computer. The upside is that the game get's a huge amount of content for a relatively miniscule budget (compared to trying to hand-craft the same amount of content), but the downside is that all assets get re-used a LOT.

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Jan 9 2013, 8:47pm Anchor

it sure is possible but would probably take a hell of a long time to code to look as good as a handcrafted world. but it's possible

Jan 10 2013, 6:37am Anchor

The daggerfall system is one of the most technical and thereby better systems to use simply due to the sheer size and variation of the environments, whereas fully procedural does greatly limit the constrains of game design- as in you can't cater gameplay, its all gotta be random.

The daggerfall system uses random templates or levels, which means you can setup a pretty solid game design within the level itself, then apply some kind of random generation to populate the areas so that they're somewhat unique- this is more preferable over doing it by hand because it gives the player a lot more variety, a lot more reasons to keep on exploring and also I find makes the world a lot more unique as opposed to the same copy pasted crap over and over (they say that the advantage of hand doing it is that each area is extremely detailed.. but I call bullshit on that, I've yet to see a game area that didn't reuse the same sprites, textures and models in multiple areas.. so the advantage is bs.)

The best thing is that those kinds of systems aren't actually all that difficult to implement because your using a cell type streaming method- whereas procedural generation is a mindfuck. Its a good inbetween. I don't like hand built game worlds because they tend to get boring, they never change, never react. That said though a lot of daggerfall felt repetitive but I'd argue this is more a limitation of the artist than of the methods used.

Edited by: formerlyknownasMrCP

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