PCG-Based Game Design: Creating Endless Web

Gillian Smith, Alexei Othenin-Girard, Jim Whitehead, Noah Wardrip-Fruin. PCG-Based Game Design: Creating Endless WebProceedings of the 2012 Foundations of Digital Games Conference (FDG 2012), Raleigh, NC, May 30 – June 1, 2012.


This paper describes the creation of the game Endless Web, a 2D platforming game in which the player’s actions determine the ongoing creation of the world she is exploring. Endless Web is an example of a PCG-based game: it uses procedural content generation (PCG) as a mechanic, and its PCG system, Launchpad, greatly influenced the aesthetics of the game. All of the player’s strategies for the game revolve around the use of procedural content generation. Many design challenges were encountered in the design and creation of Endless Web, for both the game and modifications that had to be made to Launchpad. These challenges arise largely from a loss of fine-grained control over the player’s experience; instead of being able to carefully craft each element the player can interact with, the designer must instead craft algorithms to produce a range of content the player might experience. In this paper we provide a definition of PCG-based game design and describe the challenges faced in creating a PCGbased game. We offer our solutions, which impacted both the game and the underlying level generator, and identify issues which may be particularly important as this area matures.

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