No recent wiki edits to this page.
Early games Many years ago when computer games were just starting to get their footing, memory constraints prevented developers from releasing games with lots of pre-made content. As a result, content such as maps would be produced on the fly using algorithms.
Procedural Generation does not necessarily imply RANDOM content. For example, the game PITFALL has an entirely Procedurally Generated world layout. But this was not perceived by the player as 'random' because the room generated would be deterministic given the players number of 'screen steps' into the game world and a fixed random starting seed. Reference GDC talk, start listening at "World Layout".
Today, however, technology has reached the point where developers can spend time modeling textures, characters, buildings, etc. and then put them into the game (after rendering them in the game engine first). As technology continues to evolve and technical capacities continue to increase, a sort of consumer demand arises that forces artists to spend even more time creating highly detailed objects. Players nowadays tend to expect highly detailed environments and more in games, so artists need to spend longer on individual aspects like characters and buildings to meet the expectations.
Some games, such as those in the Left 4 Dead series, make heavy use of procedural generation. In the Left 4 Dead games, zombie placement, weapon placement, and more are altered by the A.I. Director so that no playthrough feels the same.
Notable Games That Use Procedural Generation
- Borderlands - A procedural generator creates weapons. The final game has over 17,000,000 unique guns.
- Left 4 Dead 1 & 2 - Enemy placement, weapon placement, and more are randomized through procedural generation
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Uses procedural animation for the water effects
- Just Cause - The game world was procedurally generated
- Elite - Pretty much everything in the game was created procedurally