Here's Far Cry 2 technical director Dominic Guay talking about the importance of "procedural content generation" for massive online games -- basically, using software to create worlds that had previously been hand-built by artists. It makes a lot of sense, but what fascinates me is the narrative possibilities for fiction about games: these procedural systems have or will shortly attain a level of complexity that makes it impossible to predict their outcomes. It's the Halting Problem
-- worlds where software off the rails could generate impossible situations, upside-down worlds, treasure heaps, cowardly monsters and brave grass. I'm thinking especially of abandonware worlds where only a few players remain and the gamemasters have stopped paying close attention. What odd maps might be drawn as the die-hards explore the outermost reaches of these worlds?
"Another big benefit [of procedural content creation] is that you end up being able to do stuff you simply couldn't do otherwise," Guay continued. "It opens up innovation fields. If you're creating things through code, you have a deeper understanding of what you're doing, and you can bake in some limitations."
MIGS: Far Cry 2's Guay On The Importance Of Procedural Content
"Our artists needed to be able to build not a random tree, but a type of tree," he said by way of example. "It's actually much closer to building a particle system than building traditional art assets. Artists play with parameters more than they play with vertices."
Creating those tools allowed artists to define trees based on characteristics gleaned from extensive photo reference, more than to create a number of discrete tree variants based on those references...
When a team member made a seemingly minor after-hours change to the ecosystem, it ended up increasing the asset density of the game world by 25 percent -- resulting in more than a few headaches.
"If I'm tweaking a jungle procedurally, maybe I'll just tweak it in my test map," Guay said. "But when I integrate it into the game, somewhere in the 50 square kilometer game world, maybe in just three small areas, it might cause problems, and we won't find those problems until QA uncovers them."
The microgravity of space would really put a damper on your dice games. You roll them and they don’t land. The 3D Printing Professor has a fun solution. Space Dice (via Adafruit)
Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) writes, “It is National Pie Day in America tomorrow (not to be confused with “International Pi Day” – the cooler big cousin of pie holidays on March 14th…) In honour of this occasion I’ve posted a new tutorial video that is very attainable for any novice pie-geeks out there thinking […]
Rough metal dice, fresh off the forge! Dice so heavy and clunky and sharp you can ruin tables and kill cheats without brandishing a dagger. But is this ren-faire fun fair play? I decided to put them to the test and see how random they were. I’m not great at math, so I’ll just show […]
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]