Aspireational: Dustforce Devs Show FPS’s Procgen

I’ve been keenly awaiting Spire [official site], the roguelikelike first-person shooty platformer from Dustforce developers Hitbox Team, for three years and I’ll happily keep waiting. Heck, I was sold when they referenced Quake trickjumping as an example of a slick movement system one can master. Hitbox still haven’t sent word of when we might get to play it but I’m quite happy reading a new progress report and looking at a wee GIF demonstrating how their level generation system shakes and jiggles rooms until they take an interesting, playable shape. Good GIFfing.

“Spire has come a long way, and the game is finally starting to take form,” Hitbox say. “We’re four years into development now, mostly focusing on building out the technology that makes the game possible.” They’ve replaced the Unity engine’s lighting with their own system, see, and pulled out its pathfinding for a new system able to deal with their procedurally-generated levels.

Speaking of, here’s a peek at their generator, which aims to produce spaces that aren’t re-used but don’t feel ‘random’ or inhuman:

Are they fighting? Are they hugging? Why are they jiggling? Is that where baby rooms come from? Here’s Hitbox to explain what you’re seeing there:

“This is just a simple example of a very basic room. After some room features are generated, their location in the room is determined by their relationship to other features and their impact on gameplay. For example, jumping platforms need to be a certain distance from each other, and important focal points need to feel like a central focus of the room. Catwalks should flow into other pathways, and hallway exits should be aligned to their most prominent axis. We built a physical solver to ensure all these constraints are met, all while adding a bit of chaos to the system.”

I will happily wait longer for this.

Dustforce is coming up on the Summer Games Done Quick speedrun-a-livestream-o-rama this week, by the way, along with a load of other PC games. Dustforce played at speed is beautiful. Also remember that one Hitboxer was part of the team behind the recent amazing/terrifying FPS Devil Daggers. They do like a challenge, that lot.

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7 Comments

  1. Saul says:

    That is a fabulous (and slightly nauseating) gif.

  2. zeep says:

    That gif is scary.

  3. April March says:

    That final part of the gif when all the bits turn into a big room is the scariest. It’s like the ending of a sci-fi story suddenly turning eschatological.

  4. Uberwolfe says:

    Creating stuff, and then watching it all come together like in that GIF makes it worthwhile being a programmer.

  5. GWOP says:

    But what if a scenario rises where all constraints cannot be satisfied? Will it keep writhing and jiggling about forever?

    • Jetsetlemming says:

      You can kinda see that happen at the end of the .gif, it appears to add in new space to accommodate that.

    • Baines says:

      Most likely it either ditches the whole thing and starts over, or it tries to add stuff. The former is safer. As long as the vast majority of seeds will produce a valid layout, there should be no real risk of getting failure after failure after failure.