Procedural generation can be a lifesaver when you need to build a big game with a small team, but building tools that can quickly generate content which conforms to high standards of design is still tricky business.
While there exists a myriad of well-documented algorithms for generating procedural content, the combination and usage of these techniques is far more of an art than a science. At GDC 2015, 17-Bit engineer Zach Aikman explained that many approaches were considered when building procedural levels in the studio's '80s anime space-shooter Galak-Z, and almost as many were rejected.
Aikman discussed a few different failed approaches before presenting a detailed breakdown of Galak-Z's dungeon generator, including its usage of some unorthodox math, and his thoughts on the proper balance between hand-crafted and procedural content.
It was a very thorough, frank talk on the contemporary challenges of this approach to design, and if you missed it in person you can now watch it for free over on the GDC Vault.
About the GDC Vault
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.
Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.
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