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In a panel at Pax Prime, the indie game developers of: Moon Hunters, Death Road to Canada, Darkest Dungeon, Dwarf Fortress, and Crypt of the NecroDancer got together to talk about designing procedurally generated games. We put together the main points they brought up and compiled it into a list of 4 tips.
Panel: Procedurally Generated Games
- Tanya X. Short, Kitfox Games, Moon Hunters
- Kepa Auwae, Rocketcat Games, Death Road to Canada
- Tyler Sigman, Red Hook Studios, Darkest Dungeons
- Tarn Adams, Bay 12 Games, Dwarf Fortress
- Ryan Clark, Brace Yourself Games, Crypt of the NecroDancer
The speakers at the panel at PAX Prime was filled with some amazing developers of some fantastic and successful games. What other way is there to learn about how to make a procedurally generated game of your own besides actually attempting to make one? Here is the list of 4 tips to assist you in your endeavors.
1. Beware of the Blandness Effect
Putting in so many rules that it’s always the same. Often, when people think about procedurally generated games, or designing one, they think about the world and how it’s going to look and be, but the focus should be on what the events within the game are and what the rules will be to make sure those events happen.
2. Borrow from Other Developers
Borrow from other developers and put your own spin on it. There is nothing wrong with emulating a game that you love. It helps give you a tangible vision of what you truly want. Every good idea, came from another idea.
3. Keep it Simple
Start with really simple systems, it’s the layering of the systems together that creates complex behavior sometimes, and unless that’s central to the idea of your game, you don’t have to get complicated to end up with a surprising and interesting product.
4. Just Do It
A lot of starting designers get caught up in the thought of their game instead of just jumping right in there. They start writing for hours and hours and they have an amazing concept for a game, but it becomes overwhelming and they don’t end up making it anymore. Don’t hesitate too long.