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Is it better to build a game by hand, piece by piece, or to program a computer that can build that game for you? In the cast of MotionTwin's Dead Cells, the answer is a little mix of both.
Further ReadingWar Stories: How Subnautica made players love being hunted by sea creatures In Ars Technica's latest War Stories video, Motion Twin's "Lead Whatever" (as he calls himself) Sebastien Bénard, talks about the difficulty of designing interesting and playable environments for the game. At one point, the game was "traumatized by huge levels with no actual meaning," he told us. That's because, while the team's computer algorithm was good at generating maze-like rooms, it couldn't tell when it had created a "good result."
Further ReadingWar Stories: Serious Sam almost didn’t happen—until crates saved the dayAfter that, the team transitioned to a hybrid approach, hand-designing individual rooms with distinct entrances and exits and a strong sense of flow. Then they designed a computer algorithm that could link these rooms together into a game that felt fresh but also well-designed every time.
Watch the full video to hear more about Bénard's design philosophy, including the "intentional" glitches that the developers left in just to help speedrunners and the forgiving jump timing that accounts for your slow reflexes.
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