Branching stages is just a cheap way of randomising stages a little, without some half-assed stage generator which is bland and characterless. So the concept is simple. Many stages have blocked off junctions, so divide stages into 4 sections that have several branches which work back onto a main path (or even cross over it). The game then randomizes the 4 different sections. So for example there might be a left hand turn and a right hand turn after the first section and the game sets up the stage by randomly choosing one, same for the middle, etc. Each of the 4 or 3 sections (depending on the length of the stage) may have 3 or 2 different paths, and chooses which at random, before stitching it together. It's a basic but simpler way of adding a random element.
One way of going about it, although more time consuming, would be to create each rally (country) as, in essence, a mini free
roaming world, hand created like something you could drive around in
Forza Horizon. From this the game can stitch together many different routes to create stages., and because it is hand crafted it would feel like the real world, with variety and less repetition. Also each section might have quite distinct feature far removed from other parts of that same "world".
This means that, even if you know a rally really well, the fact that the routes might be a bit different each time would keep the unpredictability and increase longevity. Even if the game gives you a preview beforehand to let you know what you are in for, a la, a reconnaissance of sorts, which I think it should. This is still something I think would work better than Dirt 4's approach, at least for now. A generator would work well if you had a lot of interesting building blocks (unique stage sections ) to attach to connection points (fixed sections with branching paths) created by the mod community in conjunction with an editor... then the world is your lobster! We can only but dream. But I would happily contribute to crowdfunding any of these ideas just to see them exist, should money be the only thing holding it back. Sod Star Citizen, this is plausible.
Branching stages! 1 vote
Sure, branching paths will increase the fun!
No thanks, it's hard enough already.