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  • Procedural Quest Generation: An Industry Outlook

    [07.09.20]
    - Goran de Ruiter

  • Quest Creation Tool

    A prototype quest creation tool was developed with the goal of finding a mix of proceduralism and hand-crafting that is usable by AAA companies. The concepting phase started after the interviews, and was inspired by the extracted data and suggestions. The final tool allowed users to create a quest by placing quest actors (NPCs, Objects, Locations...) on a 2D map, followed by the creating and stringing together of quest actions and manually written descriptions. The procedural aspect comes in the form of gameplay templates, which could be tweaked and loaded to automatically detect active actors on the map and generate a quest from them.


    Image: An NPC quest actor in the QuestCreationTool made for this study

    A testing round and survey was conducted with a second group of experienced game developers, most of which were different from the first group. The tool was received positively, and although a lot of feedback points were given, most participants agreed that the core concepts were a good foundation to build on if the application were to be worked out further. The procedural templates were rated best among all of the features presented.

    Conclusion: A Promising Future

    As we move into the future, we will likely see more big budget companies try their hand at procedurally generated game quests and missions. There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome before full-fledged main storylines are feasible, but some people are definitely in the process of figuring out the best ways to do this. 

    For the time being, anyone wishing to develop their own triple-A quest generation tool is recommended to keep in mind the large preference for manual design that currently exists. Suggested is to focus on a solid hand-crafting pipeline first, fine control and tweaking of generated quests second, and all the randomized or system-generated factors third, preferably placing proceduralism in a complimentary, rather than a foundational role. As technology improves and full-on proceduralism becomes more feasible, it is likely that this preference will change, but as of now this seems to be the best way to go about this. 

    Author Bio

    Goran de Ruiter is a Technical Game Designer and recently graduated MSc Game Technology who is looking for new opportunities. 

    Get in contact and find his portfolio website at: www.gxderuiter.nl 

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