Procedural Video Games

Things have been quiet on my end as I ramp up for next week. At the moment I'm reaching you from the Western timezone: I've been in San Jose for the past couple days attending Google's Workshop for Women (more posts to follow on that). Among other things, I've been asked to give a presentation at Cornell's annual technology conference, Bits On Our Mind, or BOOM. I'll be giving a talk on Procedural Generation and how it relates specifically to video games and the new video game Spore, slated to be released in the US September 2008.

Since the talk will be given to ~100 high school students, I've left out all the intricate algorithms in favor of video game trailers. Here are some of the videos I'll be using:

Procedural Generation is a way of creating objects in video games using algorithms. This is especially useful if you want to create lots and lots of objects. These objects (such as buildings or trees) might take forever for humans to make one by one, but an algorithm can create thousands of these objects with minimal effort. The Game Beta .kkreiger is a quintessential example of procedural generation in action. Since the level, textures, and enemies are all created procedurally, the game in total is a mere 96kb. That means it could fit on a floppy disk. Here's a download link to try the game out if you'd like to see it in action.


Rosa Decembris said...

You had a clip of the upcoming (in September) game "Spore". What are your thoughts on the game? I would be interested in a blog about it...

esbie said...

My thoughts are it's incredibly over hyped :) It's probably one of the few games I'll purchase this year for a number of reasons.

1) it's adorable
2) I like customizing characters (something which spore takes to a whole new level)
3) I don't have to worry about keeping up with competitors online, since the game is Massively Single-Player which is good. I don't have time to play the game day and night.
4) it's for the PC, which is incredibly convenient for me as a poor college student.

I'd suggest the game without hesitation, since I think it caters to both hardcore and casual gamers alike, similar to the SIMs (go figure, since Will Wright is making both these games). I never liked the SIMs, but I know I'm going to like this.