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The Shrouded Isle dev explains the allure of procedural design

August 9, 2017 | By Chris Kerr




During a recent Gamasutra Twitch stream The Shrouded Isle designer and programmer Jongwoo Kim explained why he's so keen to incorporate procedural design elements into his games. 

According to Kim, procedural game development is akin to chasing an elusive holy grail in that it opens up so many unique possibilities. For him, if there's a chance to create something that resembles a dynamic, living world, that's always a risk worth taking. 

"I think part of it is that the development itself becomes more interesting. It becomes risky in its own way, but it's just interesting to see things becoming different as you're making them, so there's a bit of a selfish desire in that regard," explained Kim. 

"Beyond that, I think there's the sense of chasing a holy grail in that, you know, if you're making a game, why is it not infinitely replayable? Why didn't you create an entire world in there? And let's say that we can't create an entire world, we can create a piece of that world every time. If we can do that, why shouldn't we do that?"

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why some developers would choose to avoid procedural generation altogether. Perhaps they want to deliver a more focused experience, or tell a very specific story. Still, Kim believes game development as its very core is about exploring new horizons. He wants to sail into uncharted waters of his own making and see what surprises lie in wait. 

"There are very good reasons not to [use procedural techniques], depending on the case. But I think that's my mentality -- why shouldn't we see what possibilities we can create given these piece and these ideas? Even if we only scratch the surface of that dream, I think it's still very interesting."

To hear more from Kim, be sure to check out the full Twitch stream right here. After that, why not follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for even more developer insights and gameplay commentary.



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