Interview with Nick of DunGenBy Duncan Thomson on
"There are billions of possible combinations, and I never get tired of seeing what happens once you click that "generate" button over and over again and the type of dungeon the algorithm comes up with. I cannot describe the happiness I felt when I saw the first random dungeon that didn't look like frankenstein's monster."
Nick is our creator for today, talking about creating recently released DunGen
How did you get into creating generators?
I have been a fan of procedural generation probably since I started playing roguelike videogames well over a decade ago. I find the randomized element in games that can lead you to such different worlds so effortlessly fascinating, with so many new things to experience that it often makes you want to do it all over again just to see what it could come up with next time.
That fascination with procedural generation eventually made me want to create my own, and as an artist I hoped to be able to improve what current generators could offer graphics-wise.
What generators are you most proud of creating and why?
DunGen is the only generator I have created so far, but I can confidently say I'm infinitely prouder of the newer web-based version than the discord bot that came before.
The move to web allowed me to improve on several features that were difficult to work with using only discord, and paved the way to an easier inclusion of other generators to come.
What is the most fun thing about creating generators?
Definitely the end result.
There are billions of possible combinations, and I never get tired of seeing what happens once you click that "generate" button over and over again and the type of dungeon the algorithm comes up with. I cannot describe the happiness I felt when I saw the first random dungeon that didn't look like Frankenstein's monster.
What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating generators?
I am not a developer by trade; I learned to code solely to create DunGen.
The single most painful lesson is that coding can be as ruthless as it is rewarding. I have spent entire nights trying to find and squash a single sneaky bug, but that also comes with the satisfaction of creating something new, something you can call your own and manages to do exactly what you envisioned.
How do you use random generators yourself?
Random generators are never a replacement for creativity, but I think they can be used to improve any game.
Early on I discovered I'm terrible at coming up with names on the fly, eventually I'd start repeating some, so that was probably one of the first generators I included in my toolset when I began GMing for my oldest group.
I have used others from dungeon generators to treasure, encounters, plot hooks, you name it.. and even those times when the result isn't exactly what I'm looking for, it tends to be a good starting point where I can add or remove something to fit my group.
What are your next big projects (generators or otherwise) that you can talk about?
For the time being I'll keep working on DunGen as there are plenty of new things I would like to implement, such as themes (new tilesets) and trap rooms, and there are always new room designs I can keep adding for more variety.
Where can people find you on social media?
Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
I'd just like to thank you for the interview and my patrons deeply for the continued support.
Due to its heavy use of high resolution images, DunGen requires a lot of processing power, so it's thanks to them that I can keep the lights on for everyone.