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So I am relatively new to gaming, however, I am working on a breakout style game and I am not sure how to generate levels. In theory I would like some approach that will let me generate tons of levels with slightly increasing difficulty. After these are generated I would like them to be the same for every user every time. That last part got me thinking about maybe using some sort of noise to generate the maps.

Does anyone have experience in this area? Are there some best practices? It would be great if the answer was "broader" than Breakout, but I can live with just Breakout.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Generally speaking, you want to look for the variables that make levels difficult. So, to use Breakout as an example:

  1. Number of walls - the number of things the player must break to complete the level.
  2. Wall durability - the number of hits each wall takes before it breaks.
  3. Power-ups - the number of power ups hidden in the walls, and the ease they can be reached.

and so on. There are other x-factors to consider (are there power-downs? do some blocks behave differently?), but this should be enough to get you on the right path.

As for they layout of the walls, I suggest looking up cellular automata. You can get regular-looking patterns by combining a few simple rules that way. So you might look through some of the results they give you and choose different pattern rules based on how often they put walls close to the paddle and up against the walls.

Games that take place in interior environments would have to use other methods for generating their layouts, of course.

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Great thanks, what about in terms of layout. I feel comfortable adding variables (for example I added hardness) but I am also looking for ways to produce the level designs randomly as well. –  Jackie Jan 28 '13 at 22:16
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I suggest looking up cellular automata. You can get regular-looking patterns by combining a few simple rules that way. So you might look through some of the results they give you and choose different pattern rules based on how often they put walls close to the paddle and up against the walls. –  jzx Jan 28 '13 at 22:24
    
Why not add that to the original response –  Jackie Jan 28 '13 at 22:33
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