Making LÖVE together!

General discussion about LÖVE, Lua, game development, puns, and unicorns.

Which gameplay elements are most important in RPG for you? (pick 3)

balance
12
7%
economy
10
6%
exploration
34
21%
fights
15
9%
NPC interaction
20
12%
puzzles
9
6%
realism
1
1%
story
31
19%
world interactions
29
18%
 
Total votes: 161

giniu
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Re: Why don't we...

Post by giniu » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:56 am

Taehl wrote:Unless it somehow avoids ALL the following "features", I'm not going to like it:

- A nonsensical, overly dramatic story (especially if it involves some kind of world-destroying ancient evil which can only be stopped by a few teenage prettyboys with ridiculous hair)
- Bad dialogue which is only half voiceacted
- A heavy reliance on number-crunching
- The best items can only be found by going to GameFAQs
- A separate overworld travel, normal wandering around, and battle screen
- Grinding (this includes "Hey Mr. Endgame Godkiller, you need to use my boat to get to the Mountain of Ancient Evil? Well then you'll have to find me the 25 Magic Medallions, which have been hidden all over the world!")
- Showing concept art or prerendered cutscenes and claiming they're in-game graphics

And most importantly:
- The Famicom-era "HAY GUYS LETS STAND IN TWO LINES AND TAKE TURNS HITTING EACH OTHER!" mechanic (adding timers, counter-attacks, troop positioning, combos, "limit breaks", or /any other gimmick/ isn't going to make this any less retarded and unfun to me)
If I can relate to some of those :)
- I definitely vote for more deep and realistic story, but that dwells inside setting, so I would aim for relative realism so don't worry about 5 people saving world. Though they can save some people or some city in the large during process, but it's too early to talk about story I think.
- About dialogues, well I think "bad dialogue" and "half voice acted" is two separate things. We surely would aim for good dialogues, who doesn't? But about vice acting it's either all or nothing for me, so because of limited resources of community project I'd say no voice acting at all, it's better to add good background music that adds to atmosphere, than to ruin it with bad, forced voice acting.
- A heavy reliance on number-crunching - don't know what to say here, every rpg that have at least single fight or simulation of other kind must rely on number-crunching. There needs to be probability and skills description involved. It can be well hidden, or presented in full potential, but it's still here. So what exactly you meant by that - to remove simulation parts and create deterministic adventure game instead? I guess not
- about GameFAQs, as said - not much can be done about this, though it still should require quite amount of skills from player to get them. But you cannot do a thing about someone posting hints how he got it.
- A separate overworld travel, normal wandering around, and battle screen, well - battle and "normal wandering" can be easily connected today, but about overworld travel - it is other thing. Using same view as for city is not feasible unless you want only small world without much wilderness exploration - we just wouldn't be able to draw all needed stuff here and make it interesting - so better to not make it at all and limit to fast-travel with map like many games did, Baldurs Gate to name one. On other side, that already fits for your view of different view for travel the world. I'd say different view for in-between-city transportation is useful and not related to JRPG anyhow, one cannot name Fallout an JRPG and it had map with random encounters so same thing, just character was marked symbolically - and this is detail. So what alternative you propose? Only thing where we could use same view for city and world travel is such that leaving border of one city makes you appear in another.
- Grinding - I agree, there are better ways to make team progress together with story
- Showing concept art or prerendered cutscenes and claiming they're in-game graphics... well, I think premade cutscene is nothing bad, if integrated well - also you mean in promotional materials? If yes it's nothing game related, if you mean that cutscenes are bad in general, I say introduction and in between chapters it's ok to have some - especially for introduction and background that cannot be well told and well drawn cutscene can add to atmosphere
- about fights, I like turn based fights, but dynamic ones - you probably seen my post where I said I'm against ATB or clones? To name one, there are many games that have turns but hidden, actually all 2d rpg's I know have turns - hidden or not. And some 3D have hidden turns. It's just good way to determine which character is faster

Anyway even if you eventually wouldn't cooperate on it, your ideas how to solve those in other ways can be useful :)

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napco
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Re: Making LÖVE together!

Post by napco » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:40 pm

Whoa... Steampunk is winning!! By the way, i've found another possible role:

-Dialogue writer, cause i'm not english and i'll probably do a lot of errors...

Now... Are we going to use LOVE 0.5.0 or 0.6.0? I'm better with the former, but with some practice i won't have problems also with the latter. (i can't understand Quads!!!)

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Re: Making LÖVE together!

Post by giniu » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:54 pm

pekka wrote:I like the idea and would be interested in supporting it. I'll keep an eye on the project and think about taking part later, perhaps after my Lovefest 1/10 entry is done (crossign fingers).
good luck then :)
pekka wrote:I'm primarily a programmer. I can make some graphics, but not professional quality. However, don't mark me down as a contributor yet, please. I'll come back.

If you set things up well, you can allow people contribute even in small ways. You could and in fact should have a wish-list of features you'd like to add, but haven't gotten around to working on yet. You could very well get someone like me to pitch in occasionally and work on some of them, even though we might not become part of the core developer group.
I think so too, I guess github repo with issues enabled would do for now, if we put all needed stuff into issues. Even that it's not best issue management it should do :)
pekka wrote:It'll also be good to have a core set of people who will be working on this steadily, as it will show people the project is viable and going on. I'd hate to see it stall because people who were initially enthusiastic just drop out later for various reasons. So, I hope you who do sign up think of it as making some level of actual commitment. And do keep us informed with regular news, even if sometimes there might not be that much actual new news--for example due to everyone being busy with school/work/life and what not. There will always be something to write as long as the project is alive! Please keep it that way.
Also here - I think that we could have simple blog on github wiki with weekly news - why not :)

My current plan, if napco agrees with it as he has right to decide as topic starter, is to do few more polls in this topic, enough to write a well formed one-page focus document. I could prepare it based on polls results and discussions so we find out what we all want to make, I think about 5-6 key decisions are still needed, but I need results from previous polls to ask right questions. Focus then would be voted also and if accepted, we move it to repository where right game concept would be crafted with focus kept in mind, then there would be time for specification for first prototype of small portion of functionality, say two weeks max from moment of finishing focus. Then along the documentation, new mechanics would be tested by prototypes, eventually bigger and bigger, ending with fully working mechanics and gameplay prototype (not necessarily nicely coded or with final graphics, but showing how gameplay feels). At same moment when documentation and prototype would be done, work could start on proper art, dialogues and clean engine with editor - final stage would be gluing it all together and the result is well made, lovely rpg :)
napco wrote:Whoa... Steampunk is winning!! By the way, i've found another possible role:

-Dialogue writer, cause i'm not english and i'll probably do a lot of errors...

Now... Are we going to use LOVE 0.5.0 or 0.6.0? I'm better with the former, but with some practice i won't have problems also with the latter. (i can't understand Quads!!!)
I'm pretty sure we need to go with 0.6 and be always on latest stable release. Sticking with 0.5 isn't anything good for new project - no new bugfixes, no new libs... and don't worry about Quads, we will worry about technical details later and for sure after focus is done someone would join :)

For now I'd raise older issue again, from page back - what policy for end of voting we pick? Number of days, number of votes, some mixture maybe? :)

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Re: Making LÖVE together!

Post by xnellex » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:08 pm

hmm... I hope it's not too late to join you guys. I'd like to work on gameplay design and I might help with prototyping, but don't count on me with coding or graphic designing. I'm here just for the gameplay ;)

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Taehl
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Re: Why don't we...

Post by Taehl » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:55 pm

giniu wrote:- About dialogues, well I think "bad dialogue" and "half voice acted" is two separate things. We surely would aim for good dialogues, who doesn't? But about vice acting it's either all or nothing for me, so because of limited resources of community project I'd say no voice acting at all, it's better to add good background music that adds to atmosphere, than to ruin it with bad, forced voice acting.
Agreed. Though there are some voice-acting communities for mods and stuff, I'd be perfectly happy with no voices at all. It just bugs me when only half of the game has voices. Lots of modern JRPGs do this. It's retarded - you have an entire DVD/BD, so it's not like they don't have enough space for the content... It's just distracting and irritating, and kills the immersion, for me.
giniu wrote:- A heavy reliance on number-crunching - don't know what to say here, every rpg that have at least single fight or simulation of other kind must rely on number-crunching. There needs to be probability and skills description involved. It can be well hidden, or presented in full potential, but it's still here. So what exactly you meant by that - to remove simulation parts and create deterministic adventure game instead? I guess not
I know, but what I mean is, don't force the /player/ to have to crunch numbers to play. As I like to joke with a friend of mine: "The thing about DnD which really bothers me is how you can't pick your nose without rolling a d20, doing 4 skill checks, factoring in the weight and size of your gauntlet, whether or not you're sick, the temperature, the level of ambient humidity..." and so on.
In other words, leave the numbers for the computer. For example, say I want to compare two weapons. The game should show a damage-per-second rate, rather than making me calculate it myself.
As a side note, I'd like to see a game that tries to completely remove numbers from the player's sight... No HPs, no MPs, no Ammo counters, no stats, no XP reports... It'd be interesting, I think. And I think it'd make much more sense in many cases. Why would a medieval barbarian know that he has exactly 452/469 health? Why would he be calculating how many more wolves he must kill (at 14.7 XP apiece) to gain 221 more XP and therefore magically get stronger?
Basically, any time I see a screen full of numbers, I'm automatically put to within an inch of quitting the game. If I have to alt-tab to check a calculator, I'm not a happy person.
giniu wrote:- about GameFAQs, as said - not much can be done about this, though it still should require quite amount of skills from player to get them. But you cannot do a thing about someone posting hints how he got it.
All well and fine. But don't make anything so rediculously hard or obscure that there's no way for a normal, non-FAQ-reading player to win. For instance, I was really pissed off in Chrono Trigger when I learned that the only way to get the best items in the game was to go into the past, touch the magic chests but /not/ open them, then go into the future and /then/ open them. There was nothing in the game that told you about this, so it wasn't fair to expect a player to figure it out on their own.
giniu wrote:- A separate overworld travel, normal wandering around, and battle screen, well - battle and "normal wandering" can be easily connected today, but about overworld travel - it is other thing. Using same view as for city is not feasible unless you want only small world without much wilderness exploration - we just wouldn't be able to draw all needed stuff here and make it interesting - so better to not make it at all and limit to fast-travel with map like many games did, Baldurs Gate to name one. On other side, that already fits for your view of different view for travel the world. I'd say different view for in-between-city transportation is useful and not related to JRPG anyhow, one cannot name Fallout an JRPG and it had map with random encounters so same thing, just character was marked symbolically - and this is detail. So what alternative you propose? Only thing where we could use same view for city and world travel is such that leaving border of one city makes you appear in another.
Computers today are more than capable of portraying a huge, seamless world. If it can be done in WoW, it can be done in a 2D game. Hell, /Pokemon/ did it. All you need to do is have an efficient system of managing game content based on the player's location - loading maps and whatever else as the player approaches them, instead of loading them all at once. Even if you have to employ seams (loading screens) of some sort, it'd be better than separate "normal" and "overworld" stuff. Think about the old Zelda games - you did all your exploring, fighting, and traveling on the same screen. That seems ideal to me.
Alternately, look at the PS2's God of War. Whenever it needed to load, did it show you a loading screen? No, it gave you a long, fairly featureless hallway to run through while it loaded in the background. The hallway may have been boring (so it could be rendered easier), but it's much better than walking up to a door, watching a loading bar, and then popping up somewhere else.
On the flipside, you know what makes me want to quit a game? When it takes 5 minutes to load, then I get to the menu and start a game, wait another 5 minutes... Realize that the game forgot my resolution settings again, so I have to quit to the main menu, waiting another 5 minutes... Change the option, then /load to the goddamned game again/... I wanted to play a game and instead I got 20 minutes of frustration!
The bottom line is, if games on the bloody NES didn't need to load, why the hell do we permit modern games to do so?


... Err, sorry for the wall-o-text, but I'm trying to help you guys avoid a lot of bad habits that games nowadays tend to have.
Earliest Love2D supporter who can't Love anymore. Let me disable pixel shaders if I don't use them, dammit!
Lenovo Thinkpad X60 Tablet, built like a tank. But not fancy enough for Love2D 0.10.0+.

giniu
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Re: Why don't we...

Post by giniu » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:11 pm

Hi,
Taehl wrote:
giniu wrote:- About dialogues, well I think "bad dialogue" and "half voice acted" is two separate things. We surely would aim for good dialogues, who doesn't? But about vice acting it's either all or nothing for me, so because of limited resources of community project I'd say no voice acting at all, it's better to add good background music that adds to atmosphere, than to ruin it with bad, forced voice acting.
Agreed. Though there are some voice-acting communities for mods and stuff, I'd be perfectly happy with no voices at all. It just bugs me when only half of the game has voices. Lots of modern JRPGs do this. It's retarded - you have an entire DVD/BD, so it's not like they don't have enough space for the content... It's just distracting and irritating, and kills the immersion, for me.
Probably, but such community would be last to join, and if we add it or not don't change the design even a little, I think it should be last thing, when we have graphics style set and game will be in kind of pre-alpha and playable. Then voicing team could relate to what there is seen. So for now if we do it don't it shouldn't matter :) I'm glad you agree with "all or nothing" policy, as that's what I'm thinking about at least
Taehl wrote:
giniu wrote:- A heavy reliance on number-crunching - don't know what to say here, every rpg that have at least single fight or simulation of other kind must rely on number-crunching. There needs to be probability and skills description involved. It can be well hidden, or presented in full potential, but it's still here. So what exactly you meant by that - to remove simulation parts and create deterministic adventure game instead? I guess not
I know, but what I mean is, don't force the /player/ to have to crunch numbers to play. As I like to joke with a friend of mine: "The thing about DnD which really bothers me is how you can't pick your nose without rolling a d20, doing 4 skill checks, factoring in the weight and size of your gauntlet, whether or not you're sick, the temperature, the level of ambient humidity..." and so on.
In other words, leave the numbers for the computer. For example, say I want to compare two weapons. The game should show a damage-per-second rate, rather than making me calculate it myself.
As a side note, I'd like to see a game that tries to completely remove numbers from the player's sight... No HPs, no MPs, no Ammo counters, no stats, no XP reports... It'd be interesting, I think. And I think it'd make much more sense in many cases. Why would a medieval barbarian know that he has exactly 452/469 health? Why would he be calculating how many more wolves he must kill (at 14.7 XP apiece) to gain 221 more XP and therefore magically get stronger?
Basically, any time I see a screen full of numbers, I'm automatically put to within an inch of quitting the game. If I have to alt-tab to check a calculator, I'm not a happy person.
I also agree, so the number crunching is here, but hidden. It's not attribute of JRPG though, Fallout was very number heavy game ;) Anyway. Hiding much of numbers is good, and hiding it behind generic progress information. About HP, it just needs other representation. I liked what was done in Kult pen&paper RPG (though I don't say we will go in such direction), something like each character had some capacity for scratches, that added to light wound. Some light wounds result in medium wound. Some medium wounds result in heavy and some heavy in fatal and death from blood loss in not threaten with hospital grade care. From life point of view, it's also important how many wounds of most severe type one have (do we care about scratched leg when we lost arm?). I'm pretty sure that something good can be built with all the details hidden, but still formulas should be complicated under the hood to give good amount of simulation.
Taehl wrote:
giniu wrote:- about GameFAQs, as said - not much can be done about this, though it still should require quite amount of skills from player to get them. But you cannot do a thing about someone posting hints how he got it.
All well and fine. But don't make anything so rediculously hard or obscure that there's no way for a normal, non-FAQ-reading player to win. For instance, I was really pissed off in Chrono Trigger when I learned that the only way to get the best items in the game was to go into the past, touch the magic chests but /not/ open them, then go into the future and /then/ open them. There was nothing in the game that told you about this, so it wasn't fair to expect a player to figure it out on their own.
Sure, I also don't see reason to put such things. Yet still some secrets are good if they are reasonable. For example hidden money bag here or there, or some other item. I think most best items should be found as part of quests or fights - in real world there is no good stuff waiting for us on the streets.
Taehl wrote:
giniu wrote:- A separate overworld travel, normal wandering around, and battle screen, well - battle and "normal wandering" can be easily connected today, but about overworld travel - it is other thing. Using same view as for city is not feasible unless you want only small world without much wilderness exploration - we just wouldn't be able to draw all needed stuff here and make it interesting - so better to not make it at all and limit to fast-travel with map like many games did, Baldurs Gate to name one. On other side, that already fits for your view of different view for travel the world. I'd say different view for in-between-city transportation is useful and not related to JRPG anyhow, one cannot name Fallout an JRPG and it had map with random encounters so same thing, just character was marked symbolically - and this is detail. So what alternative you propose? Only thing where we could use same view for city and world travel is such that leaving border of one city makes you appear in another.
Computers today are more than capable of portraying a huge, seamless world. If it can be done in WoW, it can be done in a 2D game. Hell, /Pokemon/ did it. All you need to do is have an efficient system of managing game content based on the player's location - loading maps and whatever else as the player approaches them, instead of loading them all at once. Even if you have to employ seams (loading screens) of some sort, it'd be better than separate "normal" and "overworld" stuff. Think about the old Zelda games - you did all your exploring, fighting, and traveling on the same screen. That seems ideal to me.
Alternately, look at the PS2's God of War. Whenever it needed to load, did it show you a loading screen? No, it gave you a long, fairly featureless hallway to run through while it loaded in the background. The hallway may have been boring (so it could be rendered easier), but it's much better than walking up to a door, watching a loading bar, and then popping up somewhere else.
On the flipside, you know what makes me want to quit a game? When it takes 5 minutes to load, then I get to the menu and start a game, wait another 5 minutes... Realize that the game forgot my resolution settings again, so I have to quit to the main menu, waiting another 5 minutes... Change the option, then /load to the goddamned game again/... I wanted to play a game and instead I got 20 minutes of frustration!
The bottom line is, if games on the bloody NES didn't need to load, why the hell do we permit modern games to do so?
Long load times are bad, I agree and I agree about streamed world - but still, big world must be interesting to explore, there are few solutions - make it in smaller scale (like travel on paper map like BG, Monkey Island, Chrono Trigger, Fallout, etc did) - there is just different level of details. Other solution is to create smaller world. Mostly because if we decide to create large world in normal scale, we wouldn't be able to populate it with interesting, non repetitive faun and flora. And there is nothing worse than boring wilderness. It's true, WoW did it, many new games do it... but they are made by huge companies with huge resources, and we cannot aim to the moon. Sky is high enough :) The idea that comes to mind as a workarund that might please both sides, is only limited are near each city around which one can travel by foot, and then approaching sign on the road pointing to another city, or picking train between cities would be only way to travel longer distances. Otherwise, because of limited wilderness resources we have, we would have to create boring, scaled down, or very small world. When travelling by train, map of cities one can go would be displayed. Does this sound like a good compromise?
Taehl wrote:... Err, sorry for the wall-o-text, but I'm trying to help you guys avoid a lot of bad habits that games nowadays tend to have.
No problem, ideas raise trough discussion - glad you decided to pick it as it seems our ideas weren't that far from each others! (well, we still didn't resolved that map issue, but I think we can come up with something). When I propose some solutions above, it only means that it's one of many ideas. When we end current poll, I will try to come up with next one, and for example travel and battle view would be one of questions voted by us I hope :) Of course this and other solutions to pick from would be proposed, but only those we are able to finish in small team in small time.

Anyway as offtopic - about those polls, what we are doing here is known design practice, some might notice we are playing "10 questions to focus". First 2 were answered as assumption, "Where to start design?" (genre), then it leads to what genre we pick - rpg was chosen as assumption, then comes question about setting, voted now. There will be 7 other important question and answers to them must be enough to build focus of game, that is max one page description of game that fits 10 answered questions. That way we don't loose focus on not important details, we would make as little assumptions as needed to create game we all want :) Usually those are questions designer asks himself, but in case of community driven project, I think it's good to answer them together - when we pick what most want to do, everyone would have more fun contributing :) Also in normal circumstances focus made that way is usually accepted, here we make another (last) voting - with simple Yes/No.

I hope so at least :D

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Taehl
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Re: Why don't we...

Post by Taehl » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:12 pm

We agree, then? Excellent. I was afraid you guys were going to aim for a lame fan remake of an old game, without any considerations towards what fundamental changes could improve it. I'll have to keep an eye on this, then.
giniu wrote:Long load times are bad, I agree and I agree about streamed world - but still, big world must be interesting to explore, there are few solutions - make it in smaller scale (like travel on paper map like BG, Monkey Island, Chrono Trigger, Fallout, etc did) - there is just different level of details. Other solution is to create smaller world. Mostly because if we decide to create large world in normal scale, we wouldn't be able to populate it with interesting, non repetitive faun and flora. And there is nothing worse than boring wilderness. It's true, WoW did it, many new games do it... but they are made by huge companies with huge resources, and we cannot aim to the moon. Sky is high enough :) The idea that comes to mind as a workarund that might please both sides, is only limited are near each city around which one can travel by foot, and then approaching sign on the road pointing to another city, or picking train between cities would be only way to travel longer distances. Otherwise, because of limited wilderness resources we have, we would have to create boring, scaled down, or very small world. When travelling by train, map of cities one can go would be displayed. Does this sound like a good compromise?
True, I hadn't considered that angle. In that case, yes, it could be a decent compromise. However, there are a few more options than you may be aware of:
- Huge world, all made by hand (WoW, Morrowind) (Too much work for an indie team.)
- Small world, all made by hand (most older games) (Players may no be satisfied.)
- Small world with different locales, all made by hand (most games nowadays) (The method you suggest. It's a compromise between the first two.)
- Huge, procedurally-generated world (Diablo) (These tend to get boring and repetitive.)

Or...
- Small handmade areas on top of huge procedural world (Subversion (WIP))

I'd highly recommend considering this last method. It combines the best of each option, and modern computers have the power to pull it off. In brief, the developers make some areas by hand (say, a castle), and the game will generate everything else (the forest around the castle). The boundaries don't even need to be so clear-cut: You could put in little handmade details around in the procedural forest, like a meadow or an abandoned farm. This way you can potentially have a huge world for a lot less work than normal. Even better, procedurally-generated content won't increase the size of the game's files, since it's not stored.
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beatthelastboss
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Re: Making LÖVE together!

Post by beatthelastboss » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:17 pm

Hmmm... I can make sounds (maybe music) for the game at least... Not creative enough for storyboard :P
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Re: Making LÖVE together!

Post by napco » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:06 am

beatthelastboss wrote:Hmmm... I can make sounds (maybe music) for the game at least... Not creative enough for storyboard :P
Yay! Music! Fantastic!

By the way, i agree with limited-time polls. Let's stop current poll next wednesday, than we'll start a new one and keep trace of the results. I agree also with leaving the most of the calculations to the computer, but we need to keep some, or the player will get lost and won't know how to modify his tactics. (eg: damage visualization, and maybe HP).

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Re: Making LÖVE together!

Post by kikito » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:36 pm

- Small handmade areas on top of huge procedural world
I'd love to see something like this happening ... but beware! There are difficulties on this approach, too. To a degree, this is what Spelunky does (randomly generated levels that use "bigger pieces" of scenery done by hand, like temples). Some time ago Shamus Young posted how he would have used that same approach for creating Tamriel (the world in Oblivion). Then I found this other guy that I don't know (Mike Rozak) that says it is actually implemented that way (sorry, google cache, the actual page seems to be down)

Dwarf Fortress is an example of the "completely random" category, but its worlds are reasonably interesting. The cost is that you need very simple rules, but in great numbers - on that game you can literally "pierce the pancreas of an orc", so somewhere there's a group of rules specifying what happens when an orc's pancreas is pierced. With so many simple, interacting rules, interesting behaviour emerges. But it is long and tiresome to write so many!

Also, procedurally-generated worlds need a nice variety of assets in order to look good - i.e. for people you would need a big set of faces, body parts and clothes. Different kind of houses, trees, animals and floor tiles. A fine example of the sheer difficulty of creating so many assets is Dwarf Fortress itself - they overcame this problem by making it "text-mode-like".

Suggestion for creating the assets: some kind of community effort. Start with a flexible file spec, build a nice editor around it (maybe with a website), and have people contribute and rate others. Otherwise, who is going to draw 50 tsirts in 10 positions, from 4 angles?
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