söndag 13 september 2020

Procedural Generation In Games

In the last semester, I had the opportunity to be the supervisor teacher in a very interesting graduation work: a deep study about roguelike games and procedural generation behind this kind of games.

Probably, you've heard about this category – roguelike – a type of game characterized by the random generation of maps, scenarios and positioning of enemies. The concept behind these games is complex, but the final idea is very simple.

In computing, procedural generation is a method of creating data algorithmically as opposed to manually, typically through a combination of human-generated assets and algorithms coupled with computer-generated randomness and processing power. In video games, it is used to automatically create large amounts of content in a game. To understand the difference between a roguelike game and a game without this resource, let's take for comparison the original "Super Mario Bros." and "Enter the Gungeon".

In the first title, every single element is always in the same place in the interface when you walk through the scenario; it's even possible to memorize the traps, enemies and platforms for a better performance (as we can see in some "speedrun" tournaments).

The second title is a roguelike game; every time you play it, the scenario and the gaming elements will always change (the weapons, the bosses, the common enemies etc. are always changing in a procedural way).

In the images below, I tried to construct a simple diagram to illustrate the idea behind procedural generation in games.

"Sundered", "Spelunky" and "Enter the Gungeon" are some recent examples that we can bring to this discussion about procedural games, but we have also some examples from the eighties, like the title "Rogue" (the reason that today we categorize these games as "roguelikes").

Undoubtedly, one of the big advantages of roguelike games is the multiple possibility to experience the game every time. Titles like "Enter the Gungeon" offer a myriad of easter eggs, secret passages, special-stage bosses, enemies, weapons, secret characters and much more.


Stuck At Home Looking For Some Free 4X Space Strategy Game?

Hi and welcome back to another rare post from your favorite open-source games blog :) Oh and yes I am also in quarantine due to Covid-19... stay save and stay at home!

So these days I had *some* time to check out recent developments in the probably most "just another turn" time wasting genre: 4x space strategy games.

Hot off the press is a first beta release of faithful modernization of the grand-daddy of this genre (Masters of Orion) called Remnants of the Precursors:

(Click here to watch the above video on Invidio.us instead)

Those sweet graphics come in at a hefty 1GB download and you will need Java to run it. The full GPL3 licensed source-code is available, but sadly the art assets are all under various non-libre Creative Commons licenses. The author is also asking for feedback on the beta via Reddit.

But did I say "faithful"? Yes, this is game-play wise a pretty much exact copy on the 1993 classic. Not your cup of tea? Then maybe it is time to revisit FreeOrion.

This might not be as new or flashy, but it is the real fully libre deal!
What is more? There is now a community run multiplayer matchmaking server with XMPP turn notification support for your multi-week play sessions. Our friends at #libregamenight on Freenode IRC have already organized some nice games with it.

Any other similar games to play during these difficult times? Let us know on the FreeGameDev.net forums :)

Stay save and keep those around you safe as well 😷