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Role Playing (Games)

More Randomness, More Replayability For Games? 57

Thanks to GamerDad for its 'Long Shot' editorial discussing whether randomly generated gameplay and maps make for more interesting videogames. The author argues: "As time has advanced and games have become less like the arcade games of old, plotting and story have removed the randomness from many of our games... That's to say nothing of the gameworlds themselves... The places you'll visit are always going to be the same with each play through." However, he points out: "Ensemble Studios has done an absolutely superb job of making online play in Age of Mythology exciting through the use of random maps. These maps are generated using excellent seed criteria that give the player the feeling of playing a pre-designed map but with completely unique designs every time", concluding: "I'd like to see the same kind of thing applied to first person action and more."
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More Randomness, More Replayability For Games?

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  • F-Zero X (Score:3, Informative)

    by wick3t ( 787074 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:14AM (#9724572)
    If anyone wants to check out a great example of randomness, I highly recommend F-Zero X on the N64. The X Cup (which needs to be unlocked) generates random tracks providing a whole new experience every time you play. There are the occasional tracks with tight corners and no walls where everyone just flies of the edge and dies, but I see it all as part of the fun.
  • Re:Random maps? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @12:38PM (#9725383)
    You forgotten to mention ADOM [www.adom.de].
  • Disgaea (Score:4, Informative)

    by dancingmad ( 128588 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @12:46PM (#9725425)
    In Nippon Ichi's tactical RPG Disgaea, there's an item world; you "enter" an item and do battle on randomly generated maps. For every 10 levels you beat the item becomes stronger. It adds a lot of replay vale to the game and certain stages (Cave of Trials) require you level up your weapon.

    Sometimes you do get a doofy level where you can't beat all the enemies or the exit panel is right next to the base panel (you can exit in one move), but overall it's always give you some way to get out of the level (defeating all the enemies or the exit panel).

    Its really one of the big elements that make the game last as long as it does (80+ hours - I'm at 70 something and nowhere near unlocking all the stuff).
  • Point Blank (Score:2, Informative)

    by philbert26 ( 705644 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @12:53PM (#9725453)
    One thing I hated about Point Blank was that some stages were totally predictable. The stages that had carboard baddies pop up for you to shoot at followed a pre-defined sequence. I loved that game for its variety, and it seemed such a waste to have predictable stages.

    I don't think you can apply total randomness to FPS games, because level design is pretty difficult to do well. I guess with some effort, you could at least make some variation. I remember being impressed the first time I went back through some empty rooms in Dark Forces, and new stormtroopers showed up! Ah, memories.

  • Soldier of Fortune 2 (Score:2, Informative)

    by dumpsterKEEPER ( 787464 ) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @06:58PM (#9727311)
    I'm sure there may have been some predecessors, but SoF2 was one of the first mainstream FPS games to include random map generation right out of the box for both SP and MP. Now granted, these maps are heightmap generated terrain maps with random buildings scattered about, but they are still surprisingly fun. The other cool thing is that each map is generated off of a seed, so if you find a cool random map that works well you can note the seed and then utilize that exact same map in the future. Of course, you can also just have the game generate a completely different map each time as well.

    There are even some servers such as Hexapalooza Jumbo CTF that run all random maps all the time. CTF being one of the most enjoyable game types to play on these random maps, it works very well. There are some downsides to the setup, primarily because the maps can get a little repetitive after a while, but it still is a good example of how random map generation can be integrated into a game style for which random map generation rarely works.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern