Motion Twin released a new video log for the upcoming side-scrolling action-platformer, Dead Cells, explaining exactly why they decided to use procedural level design for their upcoming title as opposed to hand-designing each level.
The vlog, features five minutes of the developers explaining why they used procedural design for the levels, and how they’re fusing some hand-designed biomes with algorithmic designs. In the video they literally break down how the biomes are connected in the world of Dead Cells and how players unlock new biomes by progressing through the game. You can check it out below.
While procedural generation is used for the levels, the Motion Twin developer explains that there are hand-crafted tiles for each of the biomes, and the biome chunks are then randomized so that they literally generate completely different level layouts, so that every time you play the game from the start you’ll get an all new tile setup for each of the different biomes, giving the game nearly infinite amounts of replayability.
It’s explained that they feed the biome tiles through the algorithm so that each biome feels different, and each one has its own sort of artistic identity and challenge identity when it comes to traversing through them.
When procedural level generation is done well it’s usually fun and innovative and highly replayable. When it’s not done so well, you get a lot of frustrations and it feels like a chore trying to get through the levels because they’re either too hard, too boring or too uninspired. A lot of time procedural level generation lacks the passion and creative ingenuity that you get from hand-crafted levels that contain a lot of intricately woven details put together by the level artists and level designers.
However, at Motion Twin they’re aiming to hit a middle-ground with Dead Cells by fusing hand-crafted tiles with procedurally algorithmic level generation.
They also have the biomes structured in a linear way so that unlocking the biomes will also require the same kind of progression. This way the game maintains a linear sort of feel like a traditional Metroidvania game.
Dead Cells is due for release this spring, and so far the art and design concept looks fantastic. They just need to clean up the combat and the platforming and it should be okay.
You can keep track of the game’s development by visiting the Steam store page.