Fire Helicopter was my first run at procedural generation. It’s a simple game: move the firefighting helicopter (represented by a block) as it tries to put out spreading fires (also represented by blocks) using water (yep, blocks). The trick is that the fire spreads quickly; if you’re not fast, your best efforts will be inadequate to contain the blazes.
Although procedural generation seems to offer lots of content without the need to hand-make everything, in practice getting it right is tremendously challenging and a burden all its own. Beyond the debugging required of any digital project lies the issue of fine-tuning the rules behind the generative process. That second step is, if anything, even more taxing; seemingly trivial misjudgments or logic errors can cause the system to run amok.
Procedural generation is not, then, a panacea. It’s an interesting topic to explore, however, and this small testbed was a nice way to ease into it before taking on more substantial games using the technique over the course of this semester.