Understanding Procedural Content Generation: A Design-Centric Analysis of the Role of PCG in Games

Gillian Smith. Understanding Procedural Content Generation: A Design-Centric Analysis of the Role of PCG in GamesProceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2014), Toronto, Canada, April 26-May 1, 2014.

Abstract

Games that use procedural content generation (PCG) do so in a wide variety of ways and for different reasons. One of the most common reasons cited by PCG system creators and game designers is improving replayability—by providing a means for automatically creating near-infinite amounts of content, the player can come back and replay the game and refine her strategies over a long period. However, this notion of replayability is both overly broad and incomplete as a motivation. This paper contributes an analytical framework and associated common vocabulary for understanding the role of PCG in games from a design standpoint, with an aim of unpacking some of the broad justifications for PCG use in games, and bringing together technical concerns in designing PCG systems with design concerns related to creating engaging playable experiences.

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