Procedural Generation in Game Design  book cover
1st Edition

Procedural Generation in Game Design

Edited By

Tanya Short


Tarn Adams

ISBN 9781498799195
Published June 1, 2017 by A K Peters/CRC Press
336 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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USD $66.95

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Book Description

Making a game can be an intensive process, and if not planned accurately can easily run over budget. The use of procedural generation in game design can help with the intricate and multifarious aspects of game development; thus facilitating cost reduction. This form of development enables games to create their play areas, objects and stories based on a set of rules, rather than relying on the developer to handcraft each element individually. Readers will learn to create randomized maps, weave accidental plotlines, and manage complex systems that are prone to unpredictable behavior. Tanya Short’s and Tarn Adams’ Procedural Generation in Game Design offers a wide collection of chapters from various experts that cover the implementation and enactment of procedural generation in games. Designers from a variety of studios provide concrete examples from their games to illustrate the many facets of this emerging sub-discipline.

Key Features:

  • Introduces the differences between static/traditional game design and procedural game design
  • Demonstrates how to solve or avoid common problems with procedural game design in a variety of concrete ways
  • Includes industry leaders’ experiences and lessons from award-winning games
  • World’s finest guide for how to begin thinking about procedural design

Table of Contents


Section I Procedural Generation

Chapter 1 ◾ When and Why to Use Procedural Generation

Darren Grey

Chapter 2 ◾ Managing Output: Boredom versus Chaos

Kenny Backus

Chapter 3 ◾ Aesthetics in Procedural Generation

Liam Welton

Chapter 4 ◾ Designing for Modularity

Jason Grinblat

Chapter 5 ◾ Ethical Procedural Generation

Dr. Michael Cook

Section II Procedural Content

Chapter 6 ◾ Level Design I: Case Study

Chris Chung

Chapter 7 ◾ Level Design II: Handcrafted Integration

Jim Shepard

Chapter 8 ◾ Level Design III: Architecture and Destruction

Evan Hahn

Chapter 9 ◾ Cyclic Generation

Dr. Joris Dormans

Chapter 10 ◾ Worlds

Dr. Mark R. Johnson

Chapter 11 ◾ Puzzles

Danny Day

Chapter 12 ◾ Procedural Logic

Ben Kane

Chapter 13 ◾ Artificial Intelligence

Mark R. Johnson

Chapter 14 ◾ Procedural Enemy Waves

Wyatt Cheng

Chapter 15 ◾ Generative Artwork

Loren Schmidt

Chapter 16 ◾ Generative Art Toys

Kate Compton

Chapter 17 ◾ Audio and Composition

Bronson Zgeb

Section III Procedural Narrative

Chapter 18 ◾ Story and Plot Generation

Ben Kybartas

Chapter 19 ◾ Emergent Narratives and Story Volumes

Jason Grinblat

Chapter 20 ◾ Poetry Generation

Harry Tuffs

Chapter 21 ◾ Characters and Personalities

Emily Short

Section IV The Procedural Future

Chapter 22 ◾ Understanding the Generated

Gillian Smith

Chapter 23 ◾ Content Tools Case Study

Kepa Auwae

Chapter 24 ◾ Automated Game Tuning

Aaron Isaksen

Chapter 25 ◾ Generating Rules

Dr. Michael Cook

Chapter 26 ◾ Algorithms and Approaches

Brian Bucklew

Chapter 27 ◾ Meaning

Dr. Mark R. Johnson


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Tanya X. Short is the director of Kitfox Games, the indie game studio behind Moon Hunters and Shattered Planet. Previously, she worked as a designer at Funcom Games on The Secret World and Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. In her spare time, she acts as the co-director of Pixelles, a non-profit helping more women make games.

Tarn Adams is best known as the developer of Dwarf Fortress since 2002 with his older brother Zach. He learned programming in his childhood, and designed computer games as a hobby until he quit his first year of a mathematics post doctorate at Texas A&M to focus on game development in 2006.


Short, director of KitFox Games, and Adams, the independent co-creator of the popular game Dwarf Fortress, have edited a substantial collection of essays providing concepts and practical application of procedurally generated content and algorithms for game design purposes. Procedural generational the method of creating data via algorithm rather than by hand—is a principle developers can harness to allow the game to generate its own content (settings, objects, and stories) using a series of rules. This method can result in considerable savings over the more traditional game design. Unlike Procedural Content Generation in Games (Shaker, Togelius, Nelson, 2016), the material here is authored by independent developers (with one exception from Blizzard Entertainment), so the information is more accessible and actionable. The book should enable game developers evaluating procedural generation for their games to make an informed decision whether or not to use it. Those with a background in computer science or who are already using procedural generation may learn something new from the contributors’ experiences and methodologies.

--A. Chen, Cogswell College

Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.