What Is RNG? A Lesson for Gamers
Have you ever been overwhelmed by the quantity of acronyms used in the gaming industry? There’s a lot to remember, from genres to technical jargon. What, for example, is RNG?
In this essay, we will define RNG in the context of video games. We’ll define RNG, look at various instances, and show how it can even be used to speedrunning.
What Is RNG?
RNG is an abbreviation for random number generator. This is defined as a gadget or technique that generates numbers at random. RNG, in gaming terminology, refers to occurrences that are not the same each time you play.
While it may seem straightforward, computers have difficulty generating random numbers. This is due to the fact that computers are meant to obey instructions, which is the inverse of randomness. You can’t merely tell a computer to “generate a random number,” since providing instructions on how to get a random number is an oxymoron.
True RNG and Pseudo-RNG
As a result, in order to really produce a random number using a computer, a physical device known as a hardware random number generator must be used. This method generates random numbers by using minute physical phenomena such as electrical noise.
Because there is no way to forecast or know what is occurring with these undetectable occurrences, they are as random as possible. This sort of RNG is essential in security-centric systems and hence occurs in typical encryption methods. It would be a major issue if someone could find out how the system generated “random” integers for an encryption protocol.
This is not an issue with game RNG. Many applications, especially games, employ pseudorandom number generation to increase speed and ease of replication.
To generate a random number, pseudo-RNG employs an algorithm (think of it as a formula) that executes mathematical operations on a seed (beginning) value. It is critical to pick a seed that is as random as possible in order to generate different results each time.
A basic example would be to use the current millisecond count as a seed and then execute the following operations on it:
int rand = (a * milliseconds + b) % c
This is not really random since using the same seed each time yields the same result. But it’s adequate for video games.
Examples of RNG in Gaming
Now that you understand the basics of RNG, let’s look at some instances of RNG in games to see how it works.
RNG is important in loot-focused games such as Destiny, Borderlands, and Diablo. When you open a treasure box or beat an adversary, the prize it drops does not always match. Because the game chooses it at random, you can be fortunate and acquire a super-rare item straight away, or a low-level piece of armor again and over.
Of course, treasure drops are not fully random in order to keep the game balanced. They’ve set up procedures to prevent you from receiving the finest weapon in the game from the first treasure box you open. Each game handles this differently, possibly by restricting the items you obtain dependent on your player level.
One of the reasons video games are so addictive is the need to constantly acquiring greater stuff.
Determining Chance Percentages With RNG
Many games utilize RNG to calculate the probability of an event occurring. This is quite prevalent in role-playing games (RPGs).
In JRPGs like Persona 5 or Chrono Trigger, for example, attacking may result in a critical hit that does additional damage. This occurs at random, although in many games, you may boost your chances by utilizing certain items. RNG controls how often bouts with wild Pokémon occur and which monsters you meet in a Pokémon game.
Similar instances may be seen in games such as Super Smash Bros. Mr. Game & Watch features a move called Judge that when used shows a number from one to nine. Each time you use it, the value is decided by RNG, with the exception that you cannot obtain the same number twice in a row.
Procedural Generation Through RNG
RNG is at the heart of procedural generation, a popular game trend. The method of developing game material using an algorithm rather than by hand is referred to as procedural generation.
Minecraft and Spelunky are two well-known games based on procedural generation. These games generate unique worlds using a seed value, which means that each player has a distinct experience each time they play the game.
Game creators, like other types of RNG, impose constraints so that worlds aren’t produced wholly at random. In Minecraft, for example, you won’t discover random floating ground blocks above an ocean.
RNG in Speedrunning
You may have come across the term “video game RNG” in the context of speedrunning. Speedrunners train a lot in order to master the game inside and out since they want to accomplish it as quickly as possible. RNG naturally lends an element of uncertainty to speedruns.
While it often creates problems, RNG isn’t necessarily a bad thing in speedruns. Having slight variation between runs may make the game more enticing since it makes it easy to improve your time with a little luck.
Minor to Moderate Speedrun RNG
RNG may be relatively insignificant to a run at times. The specific positioning of foes in a room, or whether you land a critical hit in a typical encounter, will not have a significant impact on your overall duration.
Other RNG events may cause severe slowdowns. In Super Mario Sunshine, for example, the boss fight against King Boo entails spinning a slot machine with five different results. You must first match three pineapple images to generate a variety of fruits before you may injure him.
After that, you must toss a pepper at him to put his tongue on fire, followed by any other fruit. With favorable RNG, the peppers will come at a handy spot, allowing you to finish the fight swiftly. With bad luck, you may have to spin the roulette many times and waste considerable time.
In certain games, being unlucky with RNG may totally ruin a run. This is shown in Banjo-Kazooie.
You join a quiz show called Grunty’s Furnace Fun at the conclusion of the game, which tests you with questions concerning your trip. One sort of tile on the board asks you questions about the game’s adversary, Gruntilda. If you speak to her sister Brentilda during the game, she will answer these questions.
The proper answers to these questions, however, are determined at random on each playing. Because speedrunners don’t want to spend time chatting to Brentilda, they must guess the answers at this stage. This is all down to chance—-if they choose the incorrect answer too many times, they might die and waste a lot of time.
Having this RNG-dependent segment at the conclusion of the game is difficult for a speedrun since the runner has no choice except to pray for the best. Despite this, as the video below illustrates, speedrunners often devise methods to circumvent these hurdles.
As previously explained, the pseudo-RNG in video games is not genuinely random since the same seed may be used to duplicate outcomes. Many games employ an internal timer as the seed, which might be difficult to hack. Other games, on the other hand, are considerably simpler to tinker with.
Golden Sun, a Game Boy Advance RPG, is a wonderful example of this. The awards you get after finishing a fight are determined on the activities you did throughout the encounter. This implies that if you fight the same foes with the same techniques every time, you’ll always get the same drops.
Emulation tools may be used by speedrunners to evaluate a game and see whether they can alter the RNG. They may then use it to their advantage by ensuring a desired result or limiting possible RNG time waste. However, for the ordinary player who is unaware of the seed, this kind of RNG is as good as random.
Now You Understand RNG’s Role in Gaming
Too much randomness in video games may lead to emotions of despair or futility, resulting in “gaming weariness” or “gaming burnout.” If you’re experiencing this, you should check at ways to overcome gaming tiredness and burnout.
We’ve discussed what RNG is, how it influences games, and how it relates to speedruns. So you should have a better idea of the function of RNG in gaming today. Check out our top video game speedruns now.
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