Posts Tagged ‘Generation Next’

Generation Next, Part 4: Procedural Generation’s Future

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the final in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

In this series so far we’ve examined the current state of procedural generation (PCG) in game design and outlined what a greater engagement with ‘qualitative’ PCG might bring to games (in Part 1), talked through in detail the process for creating a richly detailed PCG element of social life (in Part 2) and given an overview of my own work in this area (in Part 3). For this final part we will now zoom out somewhat and talk about game design and the games industry as a whole, and where we might want to position qualitative PCG more broadly, both now and in the near future. There are two core propositions I’d like to put forward: firstly, that we should regard qualitative worldbuilding detail as being integral to the future of games, instead of an intriguing aside; and secondly, that the demographics of developers and players of PCG games are going to shape the direction that procedural generation evolves in.

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Generation Next, Part 3: How To Create Cultures

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the third in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

In the real world we know which cultures are, broadly speaking, akin to which others. There is no escaping the cultural commonalities in northern Europe, or East Asia, or between Australia and New Zealand, India and its subcontinent neighbours, or many of the countries of South America. This is not of course to suggest that there are no differences within these cultural groupings, but Norway and Sweden are, without a doubt, more “similar” in their cultures and expectations than Norway and, for example, Vietnam. But how do we perceive what belongs to what culture, and how do we perceive the differences in these cultures? And, more importantly… how might we go about implementing these internal commonalities and external differences into a game?

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Generation Next, Part 2: How To Generate A Religion

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the second in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

As I enter the city centre, I find myself confronted by the massive edifice of the Cathedral of Urrothek, the Bleak Mouth of the Desert. Its architecture is reminiscent of the religion’s chapels I have seen throughout the land, but on a far grander scale. A detailed garden of plants and stones is laid out in a geometric pattern beyond the many double-doors leading inside, through which pilgrims continually pass. Traversing these doors myself, I see reflecting pools glittering, incense holders etched with unique designs, a number of twisted and unsettling altars dedicated to Urrothek, priests in Urrothek’s religious garments walking about the building, tables and desks with scribes hard at study, and an iron gate, set back into a wall behind the altars, leading to the crypt below in which the most faithful of Urrothek’s holy knights rest.

And all of this, of course, was procedurally generated.

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Generation Next, Part 1: How Games Can Benefit From Procedurally Generated Lore

Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum, an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the first in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.

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