A little about the game:
Hunter X is a 2d crafting survival game that is currently in development by SeaCreatureSandwich. Hunter X allows the player to design, create, and share custom items. This can be handy for getting out of sticky situations.
Stuck in a pit full of dirt? Build a ladder! Need a sword? Build a sword! Need a bomb? Build a bomb! There is no limit to what you can create when you design the items yourself!
The design room:
The design room can be accessed at any point during the game. This is where your item is named and defined. You'll create the recipe and even decide what your item will look like. Save your design and then return to your adventure to create it.
Post 1 - Static vs Procedural town design
This is not the first time that an indie dev has struggled with the pros and cons of procedurally generated game design, but it is the first time that I have really struggled with it, so I thought I’d write about that.
Because Hunter X takes place on a remote island there is only one town to start the game with. The rest of the map is procedurally generated, monster infested, unexplored and dangerous terrain. Taking that into consideration, the design of the one town has immense importance and I couldn’t wait to dive in. Before I could start working on the town I first had to decide if I planned to continue with the procedural design of the rest of the map, or sit down and design the town statically.
In the past I have opted for procedural design. I like it, and it's a great way to generate lots of “new content” very quickly saving time and resources. I feel like the player also gets more out of it in that way. Instead of the same old thing over again the player gets a fresh new adventure.
Unfortunately, there is only so much design that can be put into a level if the designer doesn't know for certain when and where the player will encounter what obstacles. It might sound like a small issue, but that knowledge is what allows the designer to interact directly with the player. These missed interactions can add up over the duration of a players experience and can quickly result with them leaving your game with an empty and hollow feeling about it.
Ultimately the decision came down to the fact that there is only one town on the map and everything else would be procedurally generated content. I decided that the design of the town would be by hand. I feel that I can maximize my opportunities to interact and communicate with the player through the design of the town without sacrificing the feel that the forests, and mountains and sea will give the player of a random and endless insecurity of procedural design. After experiencing that I know that the static design of the town will provide the security and stability needed to allow the player to take a breath between adventures into the unknown. I guess we’ll see how that decision ends up won’t we?