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How do you plan for extraordinary moments in procedural design?

November 28, 2016 | By Bryant Francis

November 28, 2016 | By Bryant Francis
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More: Console/PC, Design, Video

Designing a game around procedural gameplay—or even just procedural narrative—can be a risky proposition. How are you able to guarantee your systems will consistently produce interesting encounters for players, and how are you able to plan for spontaneous encounters that help them make lasting memories with your game? 

Well Kitfox Games lead designer Tanya Short has an answer—sort of. During our stream of Moon Hunters last week, where we checked out the games’ latest update with Short, she took the time to explain how to find that “sweet spot” of interesting experiences. 

If you’re the kind of designer who celebrates the weird moments that video games can create, the full stream is worth a watch. In Short’s words, such moments come about from designing for “80 percent normal gameplay, 20 percent unexpected,” because she essentially argues there’s a point where even players looking for unusual experiences can get frustrated if they don’t have a normal state of flow to return to. 

Also, Short goes deep in detail on why Moon Hunters saw a bigger sales spike with its expansion then it did during its initial launch. Be sure to watch the full discussion for more indie dev details, and subscribe to Gamasutra’s Twitch channel for regular developer interviews and gameplay commentary. 

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