[MUD-Dev] Procedural content generation

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Wed Oct 17 21:33:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


"Freeman, Jeff" wrote:
> I'm not sure how I feel about that assertion, as I tend to think the
> Real World [tm] was "procedurally generated", and yet it seems to be
> a lot of fun to explore anyway (considering how much time Human
> Beings have spent doing just that).

Well, it probably is even more exciting if you believe that your
ancestors are represented as trees, that nature represents what God
meant the world to be, that seductive magic beings are living in the
rocks, that Thor makes the thunder as he approach "Jotunheimen" and so
forth...  And even without all that, the vegetation has evolved and
emerged, and _we_ have evolved to appreciate it.  And even then, most of
the surface of the earth is pretty boring to most people.

Note the evolving universe is _not_ the same as procedural modeling,
which is about parameterizing a model, reducing entropy, thus limiting
the possibilities (which is a necessity in order to save storage and
computations).  I think it is important to realize that the high
fidelity and the variation in nature is compelling and exciting, you
can't get this without increasing the amount of information
transmitted.  Humans can bypass this because we can utilize less
information more efficiently and allude to the imagination by playing on
cultural and biologically determined cues.

This is not to say that it is impossible, but it is damn hard to make
something that is compelling for more than a few sessions. You want a
parameterization which is perceptually uniform and spans a compelling
space that is as large as possible without conflicting with design and
implementation consideration.  You also want selection mechanisms which
embed knowledge about human perception and experience, taking temporal
issues into account. The system also needs to make sure that the
resulting design is relevant to the "game" context.

--
Ola  -  http://folk.uio.no/olag/


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