Random Dungeon Generation

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So do you like to play games with randomly generated dungeons? If so what makes it fun for you? I don't mean randomly generated maps by the RM editor, I mean rogue-like dungeons generated by a game during play. Perhaps with randomly placed elements such as healing rooms for the party, buffs, treasure, and different monster encounters that change with every "run".
 

Kyoku

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It would be nice, makes each time one plays the game have new experiences, but also makes "luck" a factor in the difficulty. As long ad the random dungeons have a somewhat equal difficulty in say layout, enemies, and rewards then it would be fine in my opinion.
 

Rhaeami

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For me, random dungeons are inherently less "meaningful" than hand-made ones.  While you might find a +5 sword to replace your +3, ultimately you don't need to really explore everywhere.  It becomes even more about what you can get out of it than normal dungeon delving is.  And just forget about puzzles!


It's a different kind of experience, and one I don't usually prefer.  A strong character progression system can counteract it though, since then you're still "exploring" your upgrade paths, so to speak.
 

Myers & Sparks

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For me, random dungeons are inherently less "meaningful" than hand-made ones.  While you might find a +5 sword to replace your +3, ultimately you don't need to really explore everywhere.  It becomes even more about what you can get out of it than normal dungeon delving is.  And just forget about puzzles!


It's a different kind of experience, and one I don't usually prefer.  A strong character progression system can counteract it though, since then you're still "exploring" your upgrade paths, so to speak.



You can still do puzzles in Random Dungeons. It's all about how you go about it.


Also In dungeon crawlers, I personally think action battle is the more enjoyable approach.  What do you all think?



Side view dungeon crawler vs Action Battle ?
 

Milennin

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If the whole game is about replaying stuff, then sure. But if it's largely story-based and unlikely to get a second playthrough, hand-crafted dungeons are much better.
 

LightningLord2

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Generally, making dungeons (or any location for that matter) randomly generated means that you'll have to design your entire game around it, more so than any battle system or art style would. In general, it usually means that there's a big gameplay element in handling those ever changing dungeons and encounters. What is of utmost importance is to give your player enough tools to consistently deal with the given threats, especially early game, so the player doesn't get cornered by an overpowered enemy and can't do anything but die.


Also, there's a lot of random dungeon games (mostly roguelikes) that feature unidentified items. Don't do this. All that effectively does is that the player's strategic options are replaced by die rolls, in addition to already existing random factors. There are often way to identify these for a fee, which is basically charging the player for using their hard-earned loot. You might as well just use sealed chests at this point, which is a much more exciting way to do money-gated drops and treasures. I've literally spent weeks and months trying to come up with a good system for unidentified items without a single justification for making use of the mechanic to any extent.
 

Wavelength

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Generally, in an RPG (or any other game) I'd rather have carefully handcrafted dungeons/locales that really offer unique experiences and test the player in creative ways, rather than having a bunch of pieces randomly cobbled together.  However, for extra replay value, endgame content, grinding, etc., a "randomize dungeons" option can be great.  I like Disgaea's Item World, for instance, precisely because it provides an avenue to do extra things without replacing the game's main, handcrafted challenges/puzzles.
 

Lord Semaj

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The issue with randomly generated dungeons is that they get repetitive.  Diablo had random dungeons and it's great fun and adds to the replayability of the game.  But that's all it does and should be designed for games meant to be played multiple times.  Once you've seen a certain encounter you don't want to see it fifty times more.  Hand-crafted dungeons in games meant to be played once for the epic storyline are suitable to the experience.  Since you aren't making random dungeons like that you are able to spend more time on individual tiles to give them the life they deserve.  Yet a random dungeon has to have very generic encounters by necessity.  You're devoting resources that could be used to improve tiles to making lots of extra ones that won't be used in a single playthrough.


Eventually the magic of the game wears off once players have seen the same coffin puzzle for the twelve millionth time and they will abandon the game.  But was their multiple-playthrough experience better than a single higher quality one?  Up to you to decide.


Games meant to be replayed benefit from the random dungeons.  But games focused on delivering that quintessential emotional rollercoaster should stay away from them.
 
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Anthony Xue

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It depends on your approach to random generation. What usually comes to mind with this term are the dungeons of Rogue, ADOM, Diablo etc., where the dungeons consist of a multitude of deliberately bland elements so that it really doesn't matter how the rooms are shuffled up. These games draw their fascination on mechanics alone; they are all about crafting new strategies from the multitude of skills and items available. As a large part of this community is more drawn to games like the classic JRPGs, which take much of their attraction from their dramatic, linear stories that require events happening in a certain order (basically the opposite approach), you probably won't find a lot of friends for such dungeons here.

However, I would opinion that even in story-heavy games there are enough locations where not every step must follow an order to serve the story. Does it really matter if the final encounter is in the upper left or the upper right of the dungeon? I think there is space for partial randomization which takes into account the placement of certain essential rooms, only shuffling up the passages in between or those where placement is irrelevant. Beyond replayability, this will also have each of your players face slightly different challenges. Personally, I'd find it appealing to know that I'm probably the only who has to face this exact dungeon.

Such limited shuffling would also allow for puzzles. Just make sure that the three rooms with the required hints/items are being placed somewhere before the room where the action has to be taken, and all is well.
 

Wavelength

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@Anthony Xue gives a really nifty idea for a small amount of randomization here, while allowing (with considerably more work for the designer) all of the same narrative hooks and guided exploration that a completely linear RPG presents. I see the main benefit of this being a moderate boost to replayability, as a player who has already played through the game will still be kept somewhat on their toes as they explore a dungeon in their third playthrough.
 

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