This is a short series of articles where I talk about some things that I have noticed during my time researching various topic and themes. As the very nature of opinions involves them being wrong, expect many wrong assumptions and logic errors in these – but this is a learning exercise so feel free to roast me if I get anything wrong.
The rise of procedurally generated content or workflow that includes procedural content of some sort has become quite strong in recent times. With this so has the notion that people in the creative industry might be replaced with software or machines that could do their jobs (and if they thought that they can go on their entire life doing only one thing over and over again maaaybe they should)! So can they?!
Well here I come with my wrong opinions on this – no. As someone who regularly uses procedural materials, textures and (maybe in the future) thumbnails/models I can say no. This is mostly because all of these tools have been developed to speed up the generation of fine details, endless environments or endless variations of an asset. As such I feel that there is more pressure as an artist to put out more content now than before as the most time consuming and monotonous task are quickly becoming automated. In my opinion games and film designs will always need a guiding artistic vision as it is in our nature to spot complex patterns that usually occur with procedural content… like how long did it take you to “see through the code” in No Man’s Sky? Sure the worlds were endless and all, but it quickly became painfully obvious that there were around 5 template for every model and that everything was based off on that and in %60 the procedural content was of much lower quality compared to several stunning models in the game.
In another analogy imagine just how much easier and faster it would be to design an Atari 6400 game with today’s tools? A person with average knowledge could do it in a few days, an expert probably in mere hours – yet the gaming industry’s requirements and demands have gone beyond the need to a pixel artist and coders, we now need people for characters, environments and story. So who knows, given these new tools what we might need in the future 😉