A wiki for randomly-generated cool stuff

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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]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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6 Responses to A wiki for randomly-generated cool stuff

  1. picklefactory says:

    Dwarf Fortress, the game pictured in the screenshot above (this is the ‘world’ view) makes NetHack look like Pong.

    Plenty more details at Bay 12 games’ website.

  2. zuzu says:

    Procedural synthesis is where it’s at, precisely because of the declarative programming model of “creating the rules but letting a computer do all the work”. Check out .kkrieger

  3. Andrew Doull says:

    Thanks for the link guys. Contributors welcome: unfortunately, a useful wiki is one of those things you can’t procedurally produce.

  4. mdhatter says:

    Rogue rules, but Nethack is better.

  5. Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey says:

    There’s a great chapter on “Elite” (a space-conquering game for the BBC Acorn circa 1984) in Francis Spufford’s book The Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin , and you can read a version of it here.

  6. PKMousie says:

    What??? Diablo/Diablo II’s page is empty? They’re not even listed under ‘Major’ PCG Games?

    Having written a ton of the random level generator for D2, I am somewhat incensed.

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