1st Edition

Procedural Generation in Game Design

Edited By Tanya Short, Tarn Adams Copyright 2017
    336 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    336 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    336 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    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


    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



    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.