Automatic Generation of Game Level Solutions as Storyboards
Interactive Storytelling techniques are attracting much interest for their potential to develop new game genres but also as another form of procedural content generation, specifically dedicated to game events rather than objects or characters. However, one issue constantly raised by game developers, when discussing gameplay implications of Interactive Storytelling techniques, is the possible loss of designer control over the dynamically generated storyline. Joint research with industry has suggested a new potential use for Interactive Storytelling technologies, which stands precisely as an assistance to game design. Its basic philosophy is to generate various/all possible solutions to a given game level using the player character as the main agent, and gameplay actions as the basic elements of solution generation. We present a fully-implemented prototype which uses the blockbuster game Hitman as an application. This system uses Heuristic Search Planning to generate level solutions, each legal game action being described as a planning operator. The description of the initial state, the level's objective as well as the level layout, constitute the input data. Other parameters for the simulation include the Hitman's style, which influences the choice of certain actions and privileges a certain style of solution (e.g. stealth versus violent). As a design tool, it seemed appropriate to generate visual output which would be consistent with the current design process. In order to achieve this, we have adapted original Hitman storyboards for their use with a generated solution: we attach elements of storyboards to the planning operators so that a complete solution generates a comic strip similar to an instantiated storyboard for the solution generated. We illustrate system behaviour with specific examples of solution generation.