I’ve been a game player for many years, although these days don’t have the time to sit down for hours at end in front of an XBox or PC, so now my gaming is limited to game ‘snacks’ generally on my iPhone.  This is a trend is causing a fair amount of turmoil in the games industry, as the large development houses who employ hundreds of designers, programmers and testers to build large games are finding that gamers are moving to mobile and social games and taking their revenue with them.

Mobile and social games are competing in a crowded marketplace, and have to reduce development costs to a minimum in order to survive.  A hugely successful way of doing this is to make use of PCG to develop game infinite game content, another is to get the players to generate their own content for friends (more on this another day).

A great example of PCG in games is Halfbrick Studios Jetpack Joyride, available on the Apple App Store.

The player has managed to steal a jetpack from a secret development facility, and needs to find a way out.  In this case there are a number of hazards including rockets, zappers and laser beams, however rather than these being placed by a human designer in increasing difficulty, the game itself decides when and where to introduce the dangers based upon a number of rulesets.  While this could become repetitive, the game developers have made use of fast pacing, a quick restart, a variety of powerups, varying challenges and in game currency to keep players interested.

As independent game studios are on the increase I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of PCG content on mobile and social gaming platforms.