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Indiegames: Experiences with the Randomized Apocalypse

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 | Gadgets

"Tomber Barkan, founder and chief of the Suncrash development studio, summarizes the benefits of procedurally generated content at the Devcom conference, which will be held in the run-up to Gamescom 2017 in" Cologne. Barkan and his team are behind the highly acclaimed community game, Judgment Apocalypse Survival Simulation, available on Steam in Early Access.

The 2D title is about a group that has to fight for survival in the world destroyed by a demon attack. The maps, on which people search for resources and build new settlements, are mostly created by algorithms. The developers use a middleware perlin noise available for the Unity engine as well as a number of common tools.
According to Tomber Barkan, the experience has shown that the procedurally produced content on the player has a different effect than the content that a human designer creates manually and which are the same for every run. "There is something like the new discovery of what is known," says Barkan. If you are looking for a specific goal and you find it in a new position every time, thanks to the random logic at the second, third or fourth run, it is interesting in every way.
Challenging rewards
One challenge is to always reward the player with new, especially spectacular landscapes. The only thing that could be done is a few handmade environmental details, which are not shown at each pass.

According to Barkan, something is easier with gameplay rewards, especially strong weapons. In such a development, developers would have to deal with timing. The said weapon could be guarded by an enemy, which can only be defeated from a certain stage.
Barkan also briefly presented his team using Perlin Noise and similar tools to create the randomly generated content. The basis of the system are biomes, which in the case of Judgment Apocalypse Survival Simulation mean different landscapes such as forests or deserts. The developers can adjust by means of so-called frequencies, whether a lot of details are generated on the ground and in the immediate vicinity of the player – or whether the focus of the procedural algorithms is on mountain chains and similarly large structures.

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