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Stumbling on the surprising and delightful

"The exciting part when dealing with original game mechanics is that no one knows what constraints will feel good," says Road Not Taken developer Dan Cook. "Sometimes the answers surprise me, so I try not to make too many assumptions."
"The exciting part when dealing with original game mechanics is that no one (myself included) knows what constraints will feel good. Sometimes the answers surprise me, so I try not to make too many assumptions. I just dig in, make hundreds of ugly levels, and explore the unknown in hopes of stumbling on something surprising and delightful."
- Daniel Cook, chief creative officer at Spry Fox, on developing Road Not Taken in a new post on the PlayStation Blog. How do you arrive at a game that plays right? That's the topic that Spry Fox chief creative officer Daniel Cook digs into in a new blog post on the PlayStation blog about his studio's upcoming roguelike Road Not Taken. The post details the game's procedurally-based design, which Cook argues offers the robustness and variety he's looking for as a designer. And that's possible because of the painstaking groundwork he laid at the beginning of the project, as alluded to in the quote above. There's a very positive result to all that hard work, Cook says: "As a game developer, a little-discussed secret is how often we get tired of our own games since we end up playing them over and over again for months (or years) before release. But Road Not Taken keeps surprising me, and I’m not tired of it yet," he writes. Gamasutra last spoke to Cook late last year about the game, at which time he said, "What is delightful about a roguelike or other procedural system is that instead of manually bending metal and repositioning pins in our machine, we can instead change a number and the whole contraption is instantly recreated from scratch."

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