Speaking at ProcJam 2014

Just a quick one this week. I’m an invited speaker for a series of talks on the first day of the Procedural Generation Game Jam happening this year, headed up by Michael Cook!

This day of talks is on the 8th of November and the current plan is to have it streamed on Twitch. Tickets are going to be available soon, so if any of you live in London or can make it down, come along! You can read more about the game jam here, and the tumblr blog for updates is here. The jam is a week-long and there are seven or eight speakers lined up; one of the other speakers who hasn’t yet been announced will also be very familiar to those of you who follow your roguelikes…

The working title for my presentation is “Managing Size, Scope and Scale in Procedural Generation” – I’m going to talk a bit about how to manage a project of URR’s size in regards to two main themes. Firstly, the programming side – what kind of data structures can you use to handle all these different scales of information, from the histories of entire civilizations down to what items people have in their homes? How can you have the game link everything together from a battle between two civilizations, to who fought in it, to what weapons they used, where they were buried, where you might find that weapon, and what meaning others might attribute to it? The second half of my talk is going to be about this same issue but from an artistic/creative standpoint – what’s the value of having a game which holds data at all these scales, and what kind of interesting gameplay mechanics can you create with it?

In other news, still aiming for next month for beginning full-time development. New obstacles are arising as ever, but we’ll see how it goes, and PhD-finishing-work is proceeding at a damned good pace now. More updates as and when…

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5 thoughts on “Speaking at ProcJam 2014

  1. “A Procedural Generation Game Jam”…that sounds awesome! Wish I was in London so I could check it out. Hopefully it will produce some interesting game concepts.

    Those are some interesting topics for your presentation. Not having a programming background, the artistic/creative part appeals to me. Consider the Legends mode of Dwarf Fortress, which generates thousands of years of detailed history. While it’s interesting to look through, it would be of little interest to most players if it didn’t directly relate to the world that you can actually adventure through (or build a fortress in) and actually stumble across battlefields, ruins, and towns that were generated by the game during world creation. I’d be curious to hear what other/novel ways a highly-detailed, generated world could add to a game.

    So just for fun (both for Mark and other commenters here): imagine it’s a few decades or even a century into the future, to the point where procedural generation can be combined with hyper-realistic graphics/VR and with tremendous available processing power and storage. What kind of procedurally-generated game(s) might game developers be able to create? What kind of futuristic, procedural generation game concept would “blow your mind”?

    • Glad you like the sound of the talk – that’s exactly what it is really, the way I intend to use all the world’s background in URR rather than just making it “background” like it is in DF. I’m still working on putting together the ideas for the talk now, but I think it’s coming together. It’s interesting you mention a “programming background” – I’ve only been coding 3 years, I certainly wouldn’t say I have a programming background, but I guess there’s definitely degrees of programming-background-ness…

      Anyway. Interesting question, but I honestly don’t know. I don’t think there’s anything that can’t *potentially* be done now – to me, the issue is that 99% of proc-gen games are indie games, and that limits the possibility for scope, graphics, etc. I actually think in terms of processing power etc, we could/can already create almost everything.

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