Kate Compton introduces computational generative methods
May 18, 2016 3:05 PM   Subscribe

This is a beginner-level advice essay for people just getting started with building generators. It’s also for practiced experts who want a way to organize their knowledge. The advice is meant for any kind of generators: humorous twitterbots, fanciful art-making bots, level generators, planet builders, makers of music, architecture, poetry, and cocktails. (edit: it turned out to be 4000 words long, so enjoy the ride!)

So your algorithm may generate 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets. They may each be subtly different, but as the player is exploring them rapidly, will they be perceived as different? I like to call this problem the 10,000 Bowls of Oatmeal problem. I can easily generate 10,000 bowls of plain oatmeal, with each oat being in a different position and different orientation, and mathematically speaking they will all be completely unique. But the user will likely just see a lot of oatmeal.
posted by cgc373 (12 comments total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
On a similar theme, I found this book in the book shop at the recent Big Data exhibition at Somerset House; it's about 20% photos and descriptions of cool things done with Processing and 80% code examples illustrating certain techniques (with cells, agents, image processing, fonts, 3D graphics and such). There are extensive code examples here.

(For what it's worth, if you, like me, are not a fan of Java, Processing now has a Python syntax mode.)
posted by acb at 4:07 PM on May 18, 2016 [8 favorites]

This is admirable education. I'm a layperson in this field and it's compelling.
posted by Chichibio at 4:31 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Metafilter: Something has gone horribly wrong. The content looks ugly. The content all looks the same. The content looks like genitalia. The content is broken.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:36 PM on May 18, 2016

Processing now has a Python syntax mode

Also see Processing.js
posted by BungaDunga at 5:38 PM on May 18, 2016

Well that's just wrong.
posted by sammyo at 7:43 PM on May 18, 2016

Thanks, this is so interesting!
posted by threeants at 9:03 PM on May 18, 2016

Processing now has a Python syntax mode

link: http://py.processing.org/tutorials/
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:43 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

So this is not about buildings with big standby diesel generators?
posted by boilermonster at 11:14 PM on May 18, 2016

In this vein, the Procedural World blog sometimes has interesting posts.
posted by Harald74 at 1:36 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

What a great article, thanks for posting. I've been working on some generative music myself, it's quite difficult to make anything worth listening to, but less emotionally painful and exhausting for me than pulling it out of thin air. Like growing teeth rather than pulling them, heh.
posted by STFUDonnie at 5:15 AM on May 19, 2016

Gonna read this, as I'm making a procedural world game for android with a randomly generated, layered fractal 4d simplex noise, seamlessly tiling and completely wrapping tile-based world, including generated factions and quests.

Will report back.

Maybe :)

Thanks for the post!
posted by MacD at 9:07 AM on May 19, 2016

[this is good]
posted by Freen at 9:49 AM on May 19, 2016

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