Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
Before I get into this week's blog, I just want to take a moment to say that my blog has been awarded a Top 30 Game Design Blogs on the web by the folks over at Feedspot. It was surly a surprise as the list is comprised of some very popular creators such as the folks of Extra Credits. You can check out the list of blogs here.
Ok so, in this week's blog, I'm going to talk a bit about the pros and cons to having random elements to your games. These can range from random enemies spawning, random level generation and more. I've made some games in the past that have used random elements to an extent and I'm currently working on something that makes use of some random mechanics too.
A pro for me in using random elements to a game is as a developer, it can make the game I've spent a long time working on more fun. Simply because there will be moments where even I don't know what's going to happen. It makes a nice change from having made a linear game where I can predict every moment of it. Now the downside to this is the same as the upside. Not knowing what's going to happen can be fun but at the same time can be a pain for directing a game. Sometimes that random gameplay can end up frustrating the player more than being fun and even prevent them from finishing the game if a random element of the game such as an enemy spawns somewhere preventing the player from progressing.
For example, I'm currently working on a game that uses a random enemy spawn mechanic. This works better than placing the enemies as it's a horror game and allows for an element of unknowing each time you play. However, this mechanic could prove to just be annoying if say an enemy spawned right next to you when you start the game or if too many spawn at once making the game simply unfair.
So, how do we have random gameplay elements but also keep the game balanced? Using my game as an example, I create variables that I can use to set certain limits to the random spawning. First, I define areas where the enemies can spawn, making it impossible for an enemy to spawn next to the player when the game starts. Secondly, I define a max and minimum number that can spawn at a time. This way the player will never feel as if there was an unfair number of enemies at the one time and also they won't be left with nothing spawning.
I love having random gameplay mechanics to a game as they can bring a whole new feeling to a game but it's important that you do it right. Plan out what it is you want to do and keep testing and tweaking your mechanic until you feel you've struck a good balance with it. As always, I hope this has been of use and if you have any questions or want to get in touch or leave a comment below.
Until next time!