Interview conducted on the PGA with Andrzej Pasińskim-a person standing behind the design, graphics and the animation of a Heron Hero.
Jimmy: Why you you use procedurally generated levels?
Andrew: Because we have a game of the species roguelike, whose core is based on procedurally generated levels. Games of this type require you to play them many times to finally complete them. You play, then you die, you become better, you go a little better. Therefore, without random elements, the game quickly nudziałaby because the player constantly wpadałby the same things. Thanks to the procedurally generated levels we guarantee that for several hours a player will meet constantly new layouts, will face new challenges and will still have new things to explore.
J: Cons of procedural generation?
A: The stages that are procedurally generated never look as nicely as those that are created manually. In the previous games I was able to plan that specific map elements had specific gameplay roles, but by the way my aesthetic sense was satisfied, ie I was able to plan the room so that I set symmetrical two traps after Its sides, and in the middle I put an opponent. Now of course I do such a system, but I never have a certainty about what is going to happen all around and what will be the end result. This does not mean, of course, that what comes to us in a „a” is wrong, but my graphic sense is not satisfied.
J: How are you preparing to create levels with the help of procedural generation? What do I need to define what rules to fix?
A: We have a game that happens in the comic, and therefore, our generation is divided into 2 levels.
On the first level we fill the comic page frames/frame. These frames can have several sizes-we have 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 screen cadres.
The second level is to generate the same frame/level. Each room must have a certain number of inputs and outputs. There must be no room that cannot be left out or you cannot enter. You must also go to the next page of our comic book.
When creating specific rooms I start by thinking of a general template, for example, ‚ This will be a room with a large amount of spikes lower level and the player will jump between platforms. We can say that our levels are not completely procedurally generated, because they are not created entirely by some algorithm, and we create them with certain gameplay blocks.
Below are the screenshots of the editor, which visualize how they look like a ‚ ‚ a ‚ ‚ and ‚ a ‚ ‚.
We chose this option, because the whole game we create with a view to maintaining a large dynamic, in this game, you can not play carefully as in the case of Gungeon, or Binding of Issa, here we must be in the center of the fight. Among other things, this dynamic is supported by the combo system, which gives the player big perks when he continues to kill enemies without receiving damage. The ability to maintain a long combo is just one of the things that our level design is subordinated to. If we were to put everything in the hands of the algorithm, we wouldn’t be sure that such combos could be maintained for example because of too few opponents. Therefore, each gameplay block we create manually, and then you are going to programming magic, which sticks these blocks in the whole stage.
J: What is the question of testing such levels?
A: Firstly, we check our basic gameplay blocks before folding them into rooms. Among other things, we check whether they can go without losing their lives. In the case of one-screen rooms, the possible hands are probably about hundreds, while in larger rooms they can be made a few million. Immediately you can see that all levels can not be checked in all possible layouts. Therefore, many things are checked only to some extent, which allows you to make sure that everything generally will work properly, but things like a saw hung by a few pixels too low can slip. The worst cases can be some graphic glitches, eg when in a particular place, where there is little space, was assigned a slot on the enemy, and was drawn a large enemy, which simply did not fit there. In addition, in these large rooms, there are some systems that overlap each other and overlap, for example a group of fast-moving saws.
It is important to watch other people as they play our game. The fair is a great opportunity, as the mass of people scrolls here. For us-developers who have passed the game already hundreds of times some things may seem simple, and yet for people who have not been in contact with the game, the difficulty level may prove to be prohibitive. We collect feedback, and we also decide on the basis of some changes. It is also the case that some of the blocks are changing (for example, removing 2 saws from the four layout), and some are totally thrown away.
J: How sterujecie the level of difficulty?
A: Every single page of a comic book contains a set of ever-stronger opponents. With successive levels, we increase the parameters such as projectile speed or life points. In addition, on page 1 does not have any bosses, on the other you can hit the minibossów, and still meet the bosses.
* End of the interview *
A super-Hero, it’s one of those games that I look forward to and try not to pass any opportunity to play in it on the occasion of events like Digital Dragons, or just PGA. This is a great game in which the game is great and looks great (despite the fact that Andrew and so still to improve something.)