Ever wanted to know how some computer games randomly create scenarios, landscapes and the like? Bookmark the Procedural Generation Wiki, a fledgling home for the mindbending programming concepts that make it possible.
It's all about creating the rules but letting a computer do all the work, then watching like a baffled god as unexpected wonders evolve before one's eyes. There's everthing from visual art generated on-the-go, to entire worlds modeled with landscapes, climates and histories. It let 1984's Elite contain an universe to explore in only 32kb of RAM; next year's Spore will bottle similar magic for a new generation of gamers.
Created by Roguelike developer Andrew Doull, the wiki's only got a few articles so far, including a bumper list of games that use procedural techniques and Doull's six-part article, The Death of the Level Designer. Doull laments the lack of cellular automata-based content. Hear Hear! Sick of fractals, I once made a CA-based terrain generator.
What they want... [ASCII Dreams]