Last essay I talked a lot about "generative content" (specifically, simulation rather than scripting), so I'd like to clear up some stuff.
First, there really is no such thing as "generative content". Or, more accurately, there's no such thing as non-generative content. All content is created by a human using tools. Every tool has tradeoffs regarding clarity, quickness, breadth of resulting content, automation... whether your tool is a text editor, a paint program, or an algorithm that generates humans based on tweaking ten thousand morph points, it's still just a tool. The most automated of worlds are still created by a tool and still incorporate the creator's vision, as best as the tool (or his skill with it) allows.
But what we think of as "generative content" (or whatever we're calling it today) is usually restricted to content which changes real-time without specific case statements for everything. IE, a simulation rather than a decision tree. But it's an axis, not a toggle.
Where you fall on the scripted-simmed axis depends on the breadth of the game versus the depth of the game.
It's easy to script people falling in love, people being betrayed, people finding joy in watching butterflies, people worrying about their children, people gloating over a fallen victim. It's linear time regardless of the content: it doesn't take any longer to script someone dying in pain as someone scampering after a field mouse.
Generative content is very efficient at allowing the creator to put in a lot of variations on the same subject. So if you wanted a hundred people to gloat for various reasons and in various ways, you would generate the gloating rather than script it. But that wouldn't help you with the love and butterflies stuff.
Generative content is also only as good as the algorithm used to do the generating, which means the vast majority of generative content is pretty dull and repetitive. However, the vast majority of game scripting is also pretty dull and repetitive, so...
Anyway, that's sim vs script.
What do you think?