I have mentioned Terraria on several occasions here. One thing I have neglected to mention is that a month ago Redigit, one of the developers, announced that Terraria’s development has ceased. The other developer of Terraria, Tiy, has gone on to work on a spiritual successor to Terraria, Starbound. One the surface Starbound looks familiar to Terraria, but once you start digging it becomes apparent that the design direction is quite different. Nearly everything is going to be procedurally generated as hinted at in this indiegamemag.com article. In Terraria only the world is generated and all other content is predefined. In Starbound, weapons, monsters, worlds and I’m sure basically everything else is going to be generated on the fly.
I wonder if monsters attacks will be randomly generated. One attack would be the creeper attack, which is a Minecraft monster that gets next to you and explodes. Just imagine you’re walking through a forest and then you spot a deer-like creature grazing. You really want to pet it so you slowly walk up behind it. Just as you extend your hand to touch its side, it turns its head toward you, glares for a second and then begins to flash. BOOM! The deer explodes and leaves a nice crater in it’s place. I’d buy that.
This design approach is not all too surprising. Sandbox games lend themselves quite well to generated content. I think this is mostly because sandbox games are all about exploration of the world and your imagination. When the world is generated with lots of parameters the sheer number of possibilities becomes nearly limitless.
There is one problem with this though. Because Starbound is putting so much focus into the randomly generated content it limits the exploration of your imagination. I am of course talking about modding. It does sound like there will be some support for mods but it seems to be more of an afterthought. Regardless, this game is going to be legendary.