Procedural Generation

When we remade Rust we switched to a procedurally generated terrain. We generate an island based on a seed. So every server gets a different island.

In theory this is cool. But I’ve decided it’s not, and it’s something that artists and level designers should be doing.

It’s my fault. I pitched the idea of Procgen maps in Rust. But without procgen maps would load faster. Players would be able to learn their map. We’d be able to do optimisations like lightmaps and baked occlusion culling. We’d be able to profile every part of the map. The map would look and play nicer. We’d have saved hundreds of hours of devtime. We could have released multiple islands that were significantly different.

The counter argument is that it would be boring, playing the same map over and over. My argument is that procedural generated maps are boring. I don’t want to explore a procedurally generated map in a game. It’s not fun to explore, you’re not discovering stuff, it’s the same stuff over and over. You become accustomed to, and are bored by the algorithms the procgen uses in exactly the same way you get bored by an artist made map.

I want to explore a map that was made by an artist, with secrets and gameplay considerations built in. Not just computer generated noise. In my opinion this is where the maps of PUBG and DayZ beat Rust every time.

It’s a situation we talk ourselves into easily as game developers. We’re working away and decide we need a level to test our game on. The decision is either spend a day making a level, or a month making a generator, then a year maintaining it. There’s an element of wanting to work on anything but the game here, and an element of programmer masturbation. Programmers want to program, not make levels.

This isn’t to say that procedural generation doesn’t ever work. But don’t underestimate the time required and overestimate the end results.

20 thoughts on “Procedural Generation

  1. You can still change this, friend. And that Rust gets the best of the Legacy with the current.
    With the developed map, we could situate ourselves in certain strategic places, for example in places where the stone abounds or where there are more loot.

    Think about it, a greeting and a hug from a Rust player from the start.

    (Sorry for my English in Google Translate)

  2. Well, you had to experiment.. and it was a good selling point when hype was “proc gen”. I hope we will see some level design and paint-over combo at Ruin. Maybe even Rust will have few hand crafted maps in future as an option. At least we could use a tool for object placements and geometry shaping where we can publish to workshop as a single map.

  3. While you’re at it, can you bring back the BP system, remove rad from rad towns, change the building system back where you could build inside a building blocked area when stood outside the blocked zone (the raid tower era), change crafting back so i’m able to craft everything on the move (remove craft tables), change nodes back so you get abit of everything from one rock not just one thing, remove mini games from farming. and there is alot more i’m forgetting. Rust was a good game when i first started then it became great, unfortunately so many unnecessary updates ruined the game for me and many people i know. its too much of a grind and people dont have the time to hit barrels for scrap.. they want to hit barrels for rockets.

  4. When you are starting on a new server or after a wipe, I can say its amazing to discover new places you never saw before and build around interest points.
    I have 2k hours on Rust, and we are so many to have thousands of hours on this game. I don’t know if we will play that much without procgen. Because same “OP” points would be taken by the strongest team every time. And we wouldn’t have this hype on every wipe to discorver a new good place to build and spend our 2 week or month in this place.
    But maybe try to create a map without procgen next to the actual one to see the difference :) player will appreciate i guess
    (sorry for my french baguette english)

  5. I like exploring a new map in procgen, different hills, mountain’s, the layout of the land. I’ve played legacy and it was fun but the problem is the same clans would control the best spots and new players wouldn’t have a chance.
    Playing the same map over and over would became boring after having played it for ten’s of hours.

  6. The reason Garry is getting tired of Procedural Generation is simple, working on Rust is his job and job’s in themselves are boring. Garry as a gamer is getting tired of Rust, which is effecting his decision making.

    Procedural Generation is Rust’s lifeline. Monuments are noting but useless, boring structures that restrict player building and movement.

    Components + blueprints need to be deleted and given no replacement. The original crafting resources (Stone, metal, cloth, wood, low-grade, leather, bone) were more than enough to sustain the illusion of value.

    All attempts to control the pace of the game with a ‘progression system’ should stop. They only stifle creativity and fun. The fact that guns can kill shouldn’t be a stumbling block.

    Weapon balance should be simplified as ‘killing tools’. Stone-age weapons should be considered as destructive to the human body as a modern weapon. Taking a spear to the head and living is a joke. Obviously a rifle outclasses a spear, if you want to role play mid-evil warfare then split server types to modern/mid-evil.

    Development should focus on performance and base-building while adding new items overtime.

  7. I know what you’re going through Garry — at least I think so — but I couldn’t disagree with you more. As people have already stated: the procgen is Rust’s lifeline. Without it there’d never be any insensitive to explore. “Where could the other bases be” well in the only good spots on the map – which wouldn’t get updated because they’d always be the same. Meaning that, as long as you’d have played that particular map you’d know exactly where to go.

    Same goes for other problems as well: “Where can I find the most nodes”, “Where’s the spawns”, “How can I glitch myself [insert place here]” the list goes on. What I’m trying to say is that procmap’s may not be good for *all* games but for Rust there’s simply no alternative.

    I’d love for the game to go back to when I first played it. There was so much to explorer. So many people to meet. But I also know that I’d be equally as, perhaps even more, bored. Because there’d be nothing new to explore, and nothing other then my nostalgia socked memories to keep me playing.

  8. Rust is and will alway be a building game to me (aka Minecraft), PVP is just a necessary part of it. Player made structures make this game great, buildings, walls, traps etc. Sadly you limited the freedom of that with Building 3.0 and the introduction of tiers.

    Almost any procgen map on Rust looks the same and provides the same experience. In fact, one doesn’t really care much about the natural conditions when playing on Procgen. All that matters now are monuments and roads, either you avoid them or you play close to them.

  9. “FYI, I’m not suggesting we change Rust. This was a general post about ProcGen, not really Rust focused.”

    In that case.. I agree.. most games are better off with designed maps. Games like Rust and Minecraft (in a weird way) work better with procgen maps due to its basebuilding nature. I do like how most monuments feel designed in Rust… but are differently located each time. So a comination of both games could become better and better in the nearby future.

    I recently played No Man Sky… And this is an example how it doesnt work… I rather had 100 unique designed planets to explore than an infinite of ‘skinned’ duplicates.

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