Do randomly generated maps make games feel generic, or do they cleverly add hours of fun?
I think if done right, randomly generated maps can be great with not much extra work for the programmer in the long run. They can also practically offer limitless levels for players and can be especially fun in online MMO dungeon crawler games, shooters, and puzzle games. Diablo had great examples of well done randomly generated levels. Sometimes games generate levels so well that you sometimes won’t be able to tell they were randomly generated!
Simple games usually take advantage of this feature by just changing around items and enemies. There isn’t too much at stake as far as major bugs or glitches are concerned since there are little to no collision issues.
Some games however, have been ruined by poorly randomly generated level maps. If not done right, expect lots and lots of frustration such as dungeons you cannot get out of, exits you can’t find or items stuck in walls. This is definitely the mark of a poorly programmed game on the developer’s part, but if you are a developer and having these issues, even once in a great while, please stick with hand made levels.
Another issue occasionally(but possibly not an issue to some who want nothing more than to level up or gain profit) are levels being way to easy, for example, items you need being right in front of you when you spawn. This is fine sometimes, but if too often, can make the game a non challenge and end up being boring.
Sometimes I feel lost in games that randomly generate every time you load a level because nothing is identifiable, especially when graphics do not change such as caves in adventure games. I believe some things that are identifiable are good such as land marks or specific enemies.
If you want your game to not look generic and repetitive, you must consider the time and effort it takes to create several pieces of extra graphics such as variations of rocks, trees, grasses, ect . Of course you could also say this about any game that uses repeated textures, tiles, and objects, but this seems especially true with random mapped games as you do not have much, if any control over to were you place things.
All in all, I think randomly generated levels are not bad at all, but I think the best outcome would be to mix up your game between hand made game aspects and randomly generated aspects to create a balanced game with interesting graphics and scenarios with hand made sections, but lots of playability with some randomly generated mechanics built around the handmade areas.