Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

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dfTruF
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Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

Post by dfTruF » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:46 am

Is there any project in this globe to transform descent 1, to randomly generated roguelike style game?
Every planet has its own climate (textures, types of chambers, etc.) and based on some defined patterns the generator could create levels with randomly placed robots in randomly created tunnels and chambers. Player's choice for gradually incrementing difficulty can be based similar to roguelikes mechanism - deeper = harder robots.

This requires heavy changes in the source code, but the game would be much more juicy, with big replay potential.
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Re: Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

Post by Alter-Fox » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:40 pm

Nope there isn't. Mostly because it would be really hard to get a computer to create interesting architecture on this engine. Even something as simple as, say, level 4 of D1 First Strike, if you look at it in the editor, look at cube shapes and cube sizes and so on, it would be abysmally complicated to create an algorithm to make something even that simple. Most levels built for the game today are far more complex looking than that. To get people interested you'd need an algorithm to generate maps on the complexity level of, say, The Enemy Within. And if you did use "prefabs" for rooms they would get old very fast, unless you had a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge number of them.

I doubt it would be impossible though, and it does sound like a cool idea. Feel free to go ahead and do it yourself.
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Re: Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

Post by Naphtha » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:29 am

@Alter-Fox: I'm not going to argue that The Enemy Within is amazing and all, but remember its creators had already been building levels and mods for Descent 1 and 2 for several years and had tons of experience from it. I get that community expectations are high because of projects like that, but to tell you the truth, you make it sound like a newcomer should be able to put out work of that quality or not even bother. Not exactly encouraging for fresh blood... :/

Anywho, now that that's out of the way...



@dfTruF: Your idea sure sounds interesting, so you could pitch it directly to Zico or Diedel on the forums for Rebirth or D2X-XL. As the creators of the two source ports, they'll definitely know a lot more about the source code, but I don't think they visit this forum all that much so you'll be better off going to talk to them there. I can't give you any answers myself, unfortunately, but I do have a suggestion if all else fails: If you can recruit an active team that can build several maps, you might be able to simulate the idea by having them rearrange elements and save several different .HOG files that could be bundled together in a single winzip. Might be a bit limited compared to what you had in mind, but it's just a suggestion if the source code edits don't end up working out. But definitely go for the full idea first by talking to Zico or Diedel.
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Re: Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

Post by Sirius » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:50 am

It's an interesting idea, and surprisingly plausible, but I feel like it needs more of a point. If it's just a random level generator, well, I can find you enough obscure single-player missions out there to keep you going for a pretty long time. They're probably going to be at least as good as well (unless you feel like putting an inordinate amount of work into the generator - and if so, it'd likely be a good subject for a postgrad CS thesis). What it really needs is a special something that already-existing levels don't have... something compelling. Infinite levels would be better for novelty value than they would for actually playing, because it's going to seem pretty same-y after a while. Random-generated levels also showed up in Diablo, which made it work as a kind of "slot machine", but putting that in Descent verbatim would be kind of dumb.

...yeah, I can't think of anything at the moment, but it does open up possibilities that someone creative enough might be able to make something out of.
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Re: Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:27 pm

NaphthaTurisas wrote:@Alter-Fox: I'm not going to argue that The Enemy Within is amazing and all, but remember its creators had already been building levels and mods for Descent 1 and 2 for several years and had tons of experience from it. I get that community expectations are high because of projects like that, but to tell you the truth, you make it sound like a newcomer should be able to put out work of that quality or not even bother. Not exactly encouraging for fresh blood... :/
You get completely the wrong impression. I'm trying to warn the "fresh blood" that their first few works might not be accepted as warmly as they hope, but they shouldn't give up because of that -- you need be prepared to work at it a while and keep learning and getting better but eventually if you put the work and the time in you could make something that will be hailed by the community.
Basically I'm trying to say "don't expect this to be easy just because you're working with an old engine". In fact, the engine being so old will probably make it harder.

Also, fresh blood. Yum. It's phrases like that that make me hungry.
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Re: Randomly generated levels (roguelike descent)

Post by Duper » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:50 pm

One of the reasons it would enormously complex is not generating cubes and something that would look playable, but the tech to build is horribly unoptimized.

There is so much tweeking that is required when building a level that you might have better luck with earth worms in finger paint.

There are things like lighting and texture alignment and cube optimization, door placement.

While you might be able to generate these things randomly, it will lack proper flow and balance. If you REALLY know what you're doing, you will consider color usage and varied lighting for mood and situational tactics. Then you're talking nearly AI level computation. The only one that I'm aware in the Descent community capable of that is Genghis.

I'm saying it can't be done. I'm saying that beyond the scope of most hobbyists that have to work for a living. :)
It would probably be easier to create a builder from scratch than trying to retro existing builders.

The closest thing that ever existed to this was a D1/D2 level converter to D3 that was never released to the general public. And it wasn't perfect. From what I understand, a lot of hand work was needed.
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