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Generative/procedural graphics

Generative/procedural graphics
« on: February 24, 2010, 12:04:31 am »

I love procedural graphics because I think they pretty clearly visualize some of the fundamental beauty of nature, math, and physics (and therefore from my POV, of God).  Here are some illustrations I've done lately in that field, mostly hacking pre-made open source things:





I've been trying to think of more meaningful interactions that can be created with these visuals, beyond a mere toy.  No conclusions yet, though...
Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2010, 10:10:45 am »

Have you had a look at the Processing crowd yet? They work a lot with procedural graphics.
Though not often interactive.
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2010, 11:15:48 am »

Yeah both of these were based on Processing sketches at one point. Tongue
Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2010, 03:03:52 pm »

Procgen Image Grammar (PIG) is something I've worked on on the last two days

http://zara.verge-rpg.com/procgen/

It works like this: it reads in an image and interprets it as rules. each rule is a image it searches for in the screen, and a bunch of replacement images for that bit

Rules images that exist so far are:

rules.png (makes a grid)
rules2.png (test of mouse control: click on a blue box)
water.png (simulates water aka world of sand)
maze.png (random maze generation)
trees.png (random tree/hole generation)
city.png
castle.png

it might be useful to generate stuff procedurally.

> It might make more sense if you look at the images directly; for example look at http://zara.verge-rpg.com/procgen/rules.png -- you see each row has two images; the program searches the current screen for the stuff in the left column, and replaces it with the corresponding stuff in the right column, which leads to animations.  I think.
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 03:42:57 pm »

Cute! Smiley What inspired you?
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 07:54:04 pm »

This talk about Jonathan Blow is kind of related:
http://braid-game.com/news/?p=666

He kinda speaks about letting the game design itself from a set of simple rules, which is pretty much was procedural content is about too. Jonathan seem to focus on ordinary gameplay aspects but perhaps it can be expanded to include nottier games too. I find this kind of exploration of a hidden universe endlessly interesting (which my fractal program shows Smiley ), so I might be a bit bias towards the usefulness of the stuff Jon talks about.
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2010, 03:37:41 pm »

There are plenty of games taking use of procedural generation, and is a very interesting technique.

First of all, there is .kkrieger, probably the smallest 3D game in the world, just 96k. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.kkrieger
There are also the old Elite games wich generated a whole galaxy procedurally, and you could interact with it. You could even land on planets! There is a game underwork that tries to retake that spirit: http://infinity-universe.com/Infinity/index.php

I think there are plenty of games of this kind. I remember one wich was pretty much a notgame, small in size and wich only goal was to explore and catalogue fauna in the galaxy, but I don't find it Sad
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 12:40:11 am »

The first application that came to mind for me was the idea of creating your own spells out of various fundamental elements- the game could then procedurally generate the graphics for said spells based on their mechanical effects. Experienced players could intuitively "read" someone else's spell as it was being cast, knowing at a glance approximately what it would do.

The second application that comes to mind is a game that tweaks graphical elements in response to the same sort of subtle factors that earlier Silent Hill games tracked to gauge the protagonist's mental state, and by extension the ending they got. Here's a quick example off GameFAQs:
Quote
          Requirements for "Leave" ending:
                   
 Do...
                       
 - Listen to the entire hallway conversation
 - Examine Marys picture and letter occasionally
 - Heal immediately after being hurt
 - Excede maximum health limit
                                     
 Do Not...
                                   
 - Do not try to return to the apartment
 - Do not stay close to Maria

In fact, procedural graphics would (hypothetically) allow a game or notgame to explore the core premise of Divers (one of my major personal projects) in a very effective manner, especially if the procedural variables were maintained in a persistent multiplayer fashion. The central supernatural mechanism here is that the "Depths" (a side of our world we don't normally see, perceived as your surroundings gradually transforming into an abstract representation of their 'true character') are given form by the experiences human beings have in those locations. Procedural mechanics could track that- they could even record some of the most dramatic and/or common events, constructing "echoes" that become archetypical reflections of common trends.

Sorry, guess I'm rambling on- not to mention skimming over all the hard details. Hope the above at least makes a little sense.
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Your daily does of devil's advocacy: "We're largely past the idea that games are solely for children, but many people are consciously trying to give their games more intellectual depth. Works of true brilliance are rarely motivated by insecurity."
Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2010, 06:45:48 am »

The first application that came to mind for me was the idea of creating your own spells out of various fundamental elements- the game could then procedurally generate the graphics for said spells based on their mechanical effects. Experienced players could intuitively "read" someone else's spell as it was being cast, knowing at a glance approximately what it would do.

Yes. I was thinking of doing this with music/audio-only too, so magic-using players would have access to this entirely separate dimension of perception that non-magic players would be ignorant of. Not sure how, though. Tongue
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2010, 04:18:08 pm »

Use different note sequences to denote different types of spellcasting (i.e. targeted enchantment vs. hastily-cast area effect vs. counterspell), perhaps even requiring players to memorize simple inputs a la the Ocarian of Time. Each school/category of magic (life, fire, wind, thought, etc.) uses the same key and note sequences, but has a different sound/instrument. A mage can thus easily identify the different types of magic that make up a spell being cast, as well as the specific components they're used for.
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Your daily does of devil's advocacy: "We're largely past the idea that games are solely for children, but many people are consciously trying to give their games more intellectual depth. Works of true brilliance are rarely motivated by insecurity."
Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2010, 11:41:26 pm »

Something like that.

I was thinking of something even more fluid, like a weird non-physical landscape represented only in sound, that you manipulate organically for emergent effects that spill over into the visible, (virtual) physical world of the game. Like background music in a movie.
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Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 02:30:33 am »

I love procedural generation! Unfortunately it is seldom employed in games to create things more interesting than dungeon and height maps, so I like hearing these ideas.

axcho, your post has me imagining some sort of constantly shifting alien terrain that "ripples" as you talk to it. That would be an interesting world indeed!
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From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. - Karl Marx
Re: Generative/procedural graphics
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2010, 04:03:36 pm »

I wish I wasn't math illiterate. Math has always given me trouble, which is very unfortunate as I'd love to be able to screw around with stuff like this.
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Irony is for cowards.
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