Road Not Taken’s procedurally generated levels mean the rogue-like, turn-based puzzler is different every time you play it. Developer Spry Fox has detailed its creation process and outlined its benefits.
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Spry Fox CEO and Road Not Taken lead designer David Edery said the indie’s level generator has some neat benefits.
First, the generator tool uses just one difficulty slider, so the team can create levels with scaling difficulty very easily.
Second, the generator adapts to new content, so the team can add new objects and enemies without having to retool every level. This means Spry Fox can continue to add content in post-launch updates if Road Not Taken is successful.
Finally, random levels mean Spry Fox itself doesn’t get bored of the game, because it’s as surprised as players by what it finds. Edery said some of the levels he’s encountered are “insanely brutal” and that he’s “constantly running across new scenarios”.
Elsewhere in the blog post, Edery explained how the level generator works. There are five steps. First, the basic rooms (conjoined grids) are laid out, with a starting square nominated, and constraints like number of children rescued, difficulty, and parent numbers set. This was one of the most laborious aspects to tune, Edery added, as the team narowed down a range of numbers that were fun.
In the second step, the generator adds blocked paths that can only be passed with specific objects – locked doors, essentially. In the third step, the keys to these doors are shifted around the map.
In the fourth step, the generator adds goals and crafting ingredients. Finally, challenge objects like enemies and traps are added to up the map’s difficulty to its target level.
Road Not Taken is coming to Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Vita sometime over the next few months.