The University of California recently held a public talk regarding the use of Procedural Content Generation (PCG) in games.

This highlights the growth of interest in PCG within the gaming development sector, which will inevitably overflow into other media as the cost of creating interesting content increases.  There has been a long held skepticism that PCG cannot create truly engaging content, however with a renewed focus on machine learning techniques and the use of PCG to aid a human designer (either singular or through group collaboration) this problem is being overcome.

Jim Whitehead, Professor of Computer Science and founder of the game design degree at UCSC, took up that thread when he talked about Infinite Games: Procedural Content in Game Design. He noted that computers can generate amazing shapes and patterns, and can be creative by themselves or with people. Procedural content generation can use the computer to augment a designer’s insights. In fact, the Augmented Design Laboratory at UCSC has several projects underway with procedural content generation. Tanagra is a 2D platformer design tool that works with a human to generate levels. Further on, what if a player is providing input to a procedural content generator, rather than a designer? Levels could be generated automatically based on the player’s actions. In other words, infinite content.

The full article can be found here.