View Full Version : Random mission generator

Inspector Drept
24th May 2009, 01:05
I used to play Heroes of Might and Magic. A turn based strategy game.
It had an editor where you could create your own maps. But if you wanted to be challenged by a new map you could also try the random map generator.

Could something like this be applied for Thief 4?
A mission generator where you input the type of setting (Mansion, caverns, tombs), mission size, quantity of ennemies, loot availiable, equipment availiable. Then it would create the map instantly.

Nosferatu is a first person game that uses some of these random technology. The rooms change when you start a new game. So it might be possible to implement.

24th May 2009, 02:09
Would be nice to have

24th May 2009, 02:12
That would be cool indeed.

24th May 2009, 02:16
No thanks. I don't think it would work out too well.

24th May 2009, 03:21
Random Map Generators didn't work that well in HoMM either. Completely random item/loot/wall/npc placement is bound to create small or large conflicts (in HoMM in particular I remember scenery and placed forest/mountain/road tiles that made no sense whatsoever).

24th May 2009, 13:37
I don't think somebody will ever bother doing this. Even Diablo 3 will have much fewer randomly generated layouts than the previous titles.

However, if you take a look at Oblige level generator for Doom engine games, you will see how truly spectacular results can be achieved in 3D enviroinment generation.

24th May 2009, 22:32
Sounds good in theory. It could be cool if it was a bonus feature that is not part of the main missions. I remember Nosferatu. Like Diablo, it didn't really make the game itself feel random. It just somewhat randomly impacted the layout, although not drastically where it made you feel like it was a different experience each time you played. More a novelty feature than anything else.

24th May 2009, 23:27
I would like to see similiar ideas in the city as a whole, so one month a certain building would be there, the next a different building, not mission locations or POIs but small houses and tenements, slums also. Even small alleys and minor roads could be procedurally generated.

It's similiar to Assassins, where they had "lego houses" and the devs pieced the cities together. Only the buildings would automatically know which sides fitted together and which buildings should be in which district.

After all, they always said the city was ever changing...

25th May 2009, 00:24
After all, they always said the city was ever changing...

I think that was more like a metaphor than anything else.

But the idea can be very good, if implemented correctly. I'd rather have static buildings, roads etc, but that's just me.

25th May 2009, 01:06
The City must stay a constant IMO. You can't place Bafford's manor in the Docks district or the Haunted Cathedral in Audale. However a randomly generated mission (like "skirmish" mode in RTS games) sounds wonderful. Granted, those will never rival man made FMs, but a randomly generated mansion or castle with random loot and objectives sounds very refreshing.

For HOMM, the random map generator is the only thing that kept the game going long after NWC died. Disciples 2 is similarly good but gets very old very fast with the low number of maps it has. In HOMM, if one isn't "locked in" by something like a horde of Grand Elves, and has his wood/ore mines and some gold piles/chests he can always prosper. So restarting random maps is necessary only if you are sealed in a valley, have a one-way exit next to your castle or are locked in by strong creatures.

25th May 2009, 01:08
In theory it would be a nice idea, of the -yeah, why not, that'd be cool, variety - but I think the time needed to code this would be far better spend doing other things. I doubt EM has infinite resources and money after all.

FAR better to spend the time for example on releasing an editor.

25th May 2009, 10:27
The idea interesting, but is difficultly feasible. The thief it not strategy. The maps are necessary for carrying out manually and carefully to test. Here player slowly passes mission and can thoroughly study full details of a map. In through passage missions (similarly to urban streets in TDS) it is possible to set a casual arrangement of values and some patrols the guards.
The editor and simplified system of addition fanmissions will be better. The games with similar opportunities have long life.

25th May 2009, 10:40
If they have a city environment I really doubt it would randomly generate. It woudn't make any sense and it takes time to demolish and reconstruct buildings. It'd also make it difficult for the player to get used to the surroundings and locations of things if everything kept changing.

Missions might be doable but I doubt they would as it would take so long to code and test.

Testing is the issue here. Without someone to go over the level to make sure it's playable, they'd have to make the generator overdo shadows to garauntee that each random mission is completable (it would be so annoying to play for over an hour only to find that the it's impossible to reach the objective.) The problem with overdoing anything to make sure it's possible to complete is that it would make it way too easy for most people.

I think I'd rather they devote their time to making an editor. Then there'll be loads of extra missions that would be far better, and look much nicer (instead of repetitive tiles) than anything that could be randomly generated.

25th May 2009, 10:58
You misunderstood me, the cathedral wouldn't end up in Auldale and Pavelock wouldn't end up New Quarter, but the buildings in between, which you can't get into, could either be randomly placed or could change with time, because I hope all the missions don't happen in 1 night. Maybe there would be whole months between the first mission and the last, atleast a few of the buildings would change.

I honestly don't think it would take an amazing amount of testing, and if you save the game you wouldn't get stuck under a taller building when you start it up again. Thief is about mystery and it's very easy to lose that mystery when you have every path through the city mapped out. And the last thing I want is to be locked out of whole districts like last time.

25th May 2009, 11:06
Random mission generator
That's like asking too much from EM developers.
I would like them to spend time on the SDK.

25th May 2009, 11:13
Thief is about mystery and it's very easy to lose that mystery when you have every path through the city mapped out. And the last thing I want is to be locked out of whole districts like last time.

Yeah, but the mystery comes from the plot and exploring the missions for the first time. It doesn't come from trying to find my way around the city. It would get so frustrating constantly getting lost because they've changed everything again.

Planning is a big part of it as well. Once you know the layout, you can make plans for your next course of action. If I see someone I need to blackjack walk up an alley that I know the route of, tehn i run ahead to ambush him, it'll be a royal pain in the arse if the city map has shifted since the last time I was here and the alley leads somewhere completely different. it would waste time and get too confusing.

Durinda D'Bry
25th May 2009, 12:19
Some small random effects (items appear in deifferent places, AI actions etc) would be interesting to have. Probably even some small changes in space - some hidden place available etc. But please do not play too much with it - it's not Dungeon Hack or even Daggerfall.

25th May 2009, 12:26
Daggerfall was static.

25th May 2009, 13:23
Daggerfall's dungeons (even its cities) were created with a random map generator of sorts, but once they were put in-game they were indeed static and unchangeable. I've memorized and can still navigate through about 20-30 of Daggerfall's dungeons by heart.

25th May 2009, 13:36
I think it would be quite easy, but I understand why you're sceptical.

I certainly think that AI should be more random, if all the guards are in the same place the second time you play a level then you know exactly what to expect, at least a few guards in every mission should have different paths, that would make it more replayable.

27th May 2009, 14:45
Before reading the thread I would say it isn't a good idea due to technical reasons however I guess it has been done before on non RPG TBS before. Overall though with placement of guards and the building I do think random might not work that well. Would the system be able to make secret rooms or passages or mission objectives? In all it's randomness could it make a extremely long hallway of marble tile completely lit with electronic lights, full of patrolling guards, robots, and sentry eyes? While not having a way to lead the guards away turn off the lights or anything else?

I have said before one of the best things in the Thief games were the map designs for the missions. I'm sure each one of them is thoroughly tested for difficulty and atmosphere.

However I do like the idea of a skirmish or one off type situtation where the game will randomly generate a area. either entering a building in the city or more like a one off mission that is not part of the story. Where you can choose variables and the game would produce something to play to extend the life of the game after the story.

i can see choosing a location mansion, crypt, cathedral etc. You can then have a slider or so for amount of darkness/lights, amount of guards or AI challenge. i think it would be good to have floor amount where you can have a 4 floor mansion or so but depending on location certain factors would be limited say a cathedral would have no less than 2 floors or more than 3. Maybe other factors like wealth of the area which changes loot but also tile settings. A rich mansion would have a good use of tile in some areas but also heavily carpeted. A poorer mansion might have more wood floors.

Perhaps having a thing to allow robotic things or monsters in the area. Maybe amount of special loot to find for max points. Could also set a starting gold amount as you would need to purchase your gear besides a default starting set.

It all seems great but overall though I don't see it happening unless it is vital to the building of the game. The story I think should be more made missions with maps rather than randomly generated ones.To put the time and effort into creating a system like that would probably detract from other aspects of the game. I wouldn't mind seeing some randomness in the missions themselves though kind of like L4D where the maps are the same but placement and amount of enemies and special enemies is somewhat random.

7th Jun 2009, 03:58
this would be really awesome to have. people would never get tired of playing...not that anyone ever really does haha. but you all know what i mean. the mystery would still always be there...but they could never pull it off and have it work right. the shadows and stuff are set up just right so that you can go through a level without ever getting caught. somethjing would be screwed up, either the guards would be in crappy areas and you may not even have to encounter any, or they may be bunched up in one area making it near impossible to get by safely, or maybe the guards, and the areas you need to go through, would have absolutely no shadows near them. impossible to sneak. like it would take years for them to fully get this to work, and lots of money, and they wouldnt be able to get it to work WHILE working on a thief game. plus, the scenery just wouldnt be as impressive.

also, who doesnt love discussing certain levels, such as the sword or life of the party, and being able to share memories and first thoughts with other people. that would be IMPOSSIBLE with random missions cause no one would ever play that same mission as you...

i mean, it does sound like it would be a lot of fun, but i dont see it ever happening (although i would love it if they did get it to work perfectly :D)

7th Jun 2009, 04:04
It's a great idea, but the programming... oh geez, I don't know how you'd really do it. You'd have to figure out what textures to apply to objects, or you'd have wood bridges as floors, you may not even have sections of floor where they should be. There might be a lava pit in the basement, I mean... it would be really REALLY hard to make a properly working 3 dimensional map, and have guards with convincing patrol routes, secrets and properly placed loot. I mean, unless it wasn't really that random... but then you'd click the button 5 times and start seeing the similarities and it wouldn't be that great for you anymore...

Sounds good in theory, but seems impossible to do WELL in practice.

7th Jun 2009, 04:09
...although, i'm thinking about it, and even though a random map generator probably would never work properly, the idea of not having the guards on the same patrol every time is a great idea. maybe (idk if it would take up too much but i dont think it would) there could be 4 or 5 pre-set guard patrols for each map. so each time u play it, it will randomly choose from one of those preset patrols. this would eliminate the guards being in areas making it impossible to get through since the developers personally designed them, but it would make ti less predictable and give more of a challenge. i imagine a simple code or something could make that work without having to design 4 or 5 completely seperate levels for each map

Inspector Drept
7th Jun 2009, 04:24
I think it can be done.
Nosferatu did it to a certain extent.

And now Left 4 Dead 2, announced at E3, is revealing that their Director not only will decide how to place items and throw mobs at you but can also change the layout of a cemetery. It will be a maze if you are very good at killing zombies. And it will be a simple corridor if you are getting owned too much.

7th Jun 2009, 05:02
And now Left 4 Dead 2, announced at E3, is revealing that their Director not only will decide how to place items and throw mobs at you but can also change the layout of a cemetery. It will be a maze if you are very good at killing zombies. And it will be a simple corridor if you are getting owned too much.

See, that cemetery is really a 2 dimensional object, because the only thing taking up your y axis is the height of the walls, making it easier to randomly generate. It also has the same exact set piece that's changing, the hedges/headstones or whatever makes up the maze. Thief has alot of diverse elements, so you'd either have to severly dumb down what can be used, or you'd end up with very strange looking levels (akin to constantine's mansion thinking about it, but alot less orderly, and more clashing than well put together).

7th Jun 2009, 05:32
Let me see if I can come up with a random level generator...

Every level takes up X amount of 3dimensional space... idk what a good number is, but let's say 19200 to 32000 cubic yards (don't criticize the number! I really don't know what a good one would be, I figure 3-5 football fields worth of cubic space would make a nice expansive level when you take into account wall thickness and stairs and other things.

You take that number and determine how many floors you want to have to the building, a number between 1 and 4. Divide the yards into the number of floors. Generate a number between 1 and 5, every number above 3 is how many floors are below ground until all floors are under ground. Make the dimensions of the floor as close to a square as possible given the space for each floor, then take a number between 1 and 12/(number of floors round down), from the most square dimensions each number represents the next closest factor to those dimensions (i.e. if your floor's most square directions were 8X8 the next furthest would be 4X16) Create a name for each square yard of the format YxX.

Start with the lowest floor and move up
Take a number between 1 and 4, that's how many accesses there are from this floor to the floor above. (if the top floor, skip this) Take a number between 1 and 5, every number above 5 is the number of staircases that also extend into the floor above the next. If a staircase goes into the next floor, take a number between 1 and 5, if 5 then one of those stair cases extends one more floor and take another number between one and 5, if 5, then that staircase extends to the next floor. For each staircase randomly generate a number between 1 and Y, and 1 and X, then place that staircase at YxX. Then determine the type of staircase by random number selection, then place the staircase. If the... jesus... this would take forever, I could do it but feel no incentive unless someone offers pay at this point.

7th Jun 2009, 18:10
IF it could be fone, I like it :)

But there are many complications, as some were pointed already. In last case, it could be a bonus feature, without interfering with the campaign missions.