Thursday, January 21, 2016

Episode 114: Gameplay-Orientated Procedural Generation

This is episode 114 of Roguelike Radio, where Darren Grey, Mark Johnson, Jim Shepard and Brett Gildersleeve talk about fitting procedural generation techniques around the intended gameplay. Apologies for the low audio quality.

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics Discussed:
  • Brett's IRDC 2015 talk on procedural generation in Rogue Space Marine (his first ever game!)
  • Jim's IRDC 2015 talk on procedural generation in Dungeonmans
  • How Brett tried Rogue-style dungeons and realised the level architecture didn't fit the gameplay
  • Designing levels for ranged combat gameplay
  • Teaching people to move diagonally in Dungeonmans
  • Are rooms and corridors out-dated in modern roguelikes?
  • Frozlunky for custom community Spelunky levels
  • "Sensible" building generation in Ultima Ratio Regum, so players can predict their surroundings
  • "Flow" in conventional architecture
  • Design of secrets. Where is Mark hiding his bodies? Why are there orange carpets in Brogue?
  • Designing environments to suit your AI
  • Realism vs gameplay
  • Marking the terrain for the AI to change behaviour around
  • Temporary/changing/evolving/reactive features to discourage repetitive abuse of the environment (good examples in Crypt of the NecroDancer and HyperRogue)
  • How Spelunky builds its levels (and part 2) with multi-layered stitching of simple templates

Join us next time for an interview with the developers of The Curious Expedition.


  1. A little bit of a revival of interest in UnBrogue is going down! See here:

  2. It is very difficult to comment at btw... might be the reason things are so quiet. Compare with the ease of commenting at TGGW's site...

    No weird logins to openID, blogger, etc required... just leave a comment!

    Even commenting here was somewhat tough, but on the fifth try I was able to remember a password for a very old and dusty AIM login.

    1. This is the way of blogger hosting - it's not really customisable, unless you want open comments and therefore endless spam. Most people have a gmail id to log on. Or you can comment and discuss on Reddit too.

  3. Nice episode! Interesting topic for me, as I try to procedurally generate buildings (shape, interior, height). Pretty difficult, are there any code snippets available that could help?

    And extra props for mentioning Fey's Puzzles from Shiren!

  4. It was interesting hearing the thought process behind the design of Rogue Space Marine.

  5. Minor note but Binding of Isaac actually doesn't use the Zelda style 'visual discrepency = secret entrance (e.g. cracked wall)' trope to hide its hidden rooms. Isaac's method is far more evolved and I really like it:

    Hidden rooms have certain properties which you can use to deduce their *possible* location. If they're adjacent to more than one dungeon room, the hidden room must be accessible from all its adjacent dungeon rooms i.e. no chasm, or obstacle blocking the potential entrance. The more adjacent dungeon rooms a space has, the more likely it is to be a hidden room.

    I'm not good at understanding or explaining things from words alone so trust me it sounds more complicated than it is. It's a huge improvement because you have *some* information with which to speculate but you never know until you try and you'll frequently be wrong even if it's a perfect spot. End result is far more satisfying and a gamble (use/save bomb supply).