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GCG Feature: 'Procedural Content Generation'

GCG Feature: 'Procedural Content Generation'

February 6, 2007 | By Simon Carless




Procedural content is one of the key technologies for the next generation of gaming, and over at Gamasutra sister site Game Career Guide, Darwinia creators Introversion have been outlining the concept for neophytes, including exclusive screenshots from the company's new project, Subversion.

The intro to the piece, which discusses the history of procedural use across all of the company's games, explains:

"For Introversion Software’s latest game, DEFCON, the only real content that we made was the audio. Almost everything else in the game is generated from publicly available information – the locations of cities, longitudes and latitudes of the various coastlines and country borders of the world are all freely available on the internet. DEFCON was in development for about a year.

Introversion’s Darwinia, on the other hand, has about 10 hours of game-play from hand-built content, and took 3 years to develop. And each of the landscapes in Darwinia is generated procedurally from a few lines of text – if each of these landscapes was handcrafted too, who knows how long it would have taken.

With each new generation of console, the costs of creating game content, in terms of both time and money, are increasing at a tremendous rate, and it is just unfeasible for a small developer to be able to keep up with such escalation. This is where Procedural Content Generation comes in handy. Procedural content is content that has been created by a computer algorithm rather than custom made by an artist. This content can be created completely dynamically, or can be generated based on some external input, from a user, or a text file, for example."


You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature on the subject, including more thoughts from Introversion on how they are using procedural content in their own games (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).


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