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LONG BLOG

Hey Devs, Let's Cut the Shit with Procedural Generation Alright?

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With e3 right on our ass and no time for developers to really change anything of consequence before the big dance, I want to take a moment to request that a bunch of developers (mostly indie developers to boot) totally change a bunch of shit that is of consequence around to cater to my whims, because that's just how this video game circus operates. 

So, hey developers, can we cut the shit with procedural generation? 

Seriously, the experiment's over and that's because it sucks. 

Now I know that you're all thinking to yourselves, 'But if I don't have that bullet point in the product description, people aren't going to buy my game off of the digital platforms because the promise of never ending replayability isn't there meaning that motherfuckers are gonna complain about having to spend 15 whole smackeruski's on my dream and frankly I don't want the success of my dream to hinge on me having the balls to stand up and say I respect my vision and design ability enough to not randomly generate everything.' 

Essentially, we are trading respect for hollow promise of infinite replayability in an inherently ephemeral medium. Respect for the craftmanship and design prowess of our game makers, respect for the player's time and gameplay experience and a third thing that I can't think of but if I could, would totally go here and make my list look nice.

Oh I'm sure that you have a game that you go back to all the time and have completed 8 million times, but what percentage of the number of games you've played overall, do those titles account for do you think?

I'd wager that it's less than 5%.

So if less than 5% of games are going to be played over and over and over, it seems like a tragic waste for a huge portion of games to focus so heavily on providing a never ending experience when that experience is definitely gonna end. An end that will happen completely independent of the amount of content presented. 

Now that isn't to say that I'm one of those fools that argues that a $60 dollars for a 4 hour experience is acceptable because I have no understanding that the value of each gaming dollar varies wildly given income levels, personal circumstances, proximity to last sexual encounter or whatever. I'm not.

But I also don't think that the integrity of the play experience should be sacrificed to the gods of replayability.

It's statistically unlikely that any game you play will be the last you play due to the game in question being both the evolutionary finish line of the genre never ever to be improved upon AND ALSO so deeply resonanting within your soul that you won't even want to play anything but that game again given the opportunity.

So sacrificing a tight, hand crafted experience in favor of randomness to make sure we never have to play the same bullshit again because you're banking on the off chance that your game is the game that beats all of the odds and really is a game you never want to stop playing seems like pure craziness. 

But hey, I'm not here to just take a dump on your dreams, so I've got a solution to offer you my game developer friend.

There's this new thing a couple of games have tried that might interest you that's pretty cool. It allows players the opportunity to quantify their play that isn't necessarily strickly tied to thier ability to burn ass though the content you've lovingly crafted (CRAFTED!), unless you want it too. In fact, this cool new shit actually encourages players to play through that content over and over and because they can use it to track their refinement of their skills it actually makes doing so more fun and more importantly it REWARDS Mr. or Ms. Game Master for their familiarity with the content you have provided them. Even better, you can use this invention, though the magic of the internet, to allow players to compare thier abilities to other players all around the world!

It's call a scoring system you fucking dipshits. 

And it's totally worked for some minor hit games including but not limited to: Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros. (technically!), Outrun, Lumines, The Club (bonus points if you remember that exceedingly average game), Geometry Wars and literally tens of other games that you may or may not have heard of but I don't really feel like listing here.

So, I mean it's up to you. You can keep coming up with fancy logarithms that will generate middling content for eternity chasing that replayability dragon or you can run with the vanguard of the industry and give players finely tuned content and scoring system to give players a reason to come back to your dope ass game. 

But consider this, either way, players are gonna find a way to quantify how much fun they're having, and personally, I'd prefer they do it in game with a game system I created. 

Or let Green Man Gaming figure it out for you, because they're already trying. 

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About VVerner Herrzawgzone of us since 7:31 PM on 05.09.2018

I enjoy video games. Also shrimp.