Procedurally generated levels and storytelling ?

Our team has been concidering procedurally generated levels for quite some time now but we've always stumbled upon some issues that were stopping us from going further than planning. For example: how are we going to light our levels if they are created on the fly. Or: how are we going to optimize them ? The problem with procedurally generated levels is that there's no room for baking operations. Everything has to happen immediately and create the illusion for an integral and solid world. 

In general, procedural generation has it's pros and cons and I'm now going to tell you about the ones we have to deal with. First is the level variation that the players will get. That's a good thing. It contributes for the long game replayability and we are aiming for a longer one in Sonic Breach. Procedural generation implies that the players will have a huge number of variations so the level will almost never be the same and will be full of surprises. However, on the other hand this seemingly random generation of levels takes the possibility for us as game designers to tell a story through the level design. Our solution to the problem was introducing something we called a Level Timeline. This timeline contains elements which define when different parts of the level will be activated and them cycling through the level segments of the current part. This means that we have full control over the sequence in which the level parts will be created.

Another good thing with procedural generation is that we're not going to have to design the whole levels from the start to the very end manually which is going to save us tons of time.

The cons, however are not less or less meaningful than the pros. You can watch this video and learn about some of them:
 


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