The current generation of games and virtual world applications require vast amounts of content to be considered believable, all of which takes designers, graphics artists and 3d modellers to put in place.

As the expectations of consumers rise, the cost of creating this content increases exponentially.  This is one reason that Procedurally Content Generation is of high value to the next generation of games and virtual world applications, whereby programmers design algorithms that create infinite worlds of all shapes and sizes.

One major issue with PCG is that sometimes the results can be ugly, boring, or unplayable.  Another is that it is can be difficult to direct the creation of a world without an underlying knowledge of how the abstract code works, which can be difficult for a designer to manipulate.

Ruben Smelik from the Delft University of Technology has just successfully defended his PhD in a Declarative Approach to Procedural Generation of Virtual Worlds, which makes very good reading for those interested in the subject.

Ruben has also built an application which immediately shows the simplicity and potential for successful PCG – SketchaWorld.

I am intending to apply the NEAT algorithm to this approach of building worlds, either a a direct (using HyperNEAT) or indirectly via softawre agents under the control of evolved neural networks.