procedural generation

X-COM creator Julian Gollop on "brute force" blockbuster game development and the lost promise of intelligent AI

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Dan Griliopoulos at

In a genial interview, strategy-game elder statesman and creator of the original X-COM: UFO Defense Julian Gollop talked to us about his imagined alternate history of gaming, his preference for procedural systems, and how he feels modern games have abandoned the promise of advanced AI in favour of shinier visuals and reward mechanics designed to massage players' egos.

Gollop first came to GDC in 1995, to discuss AI, when turn-based strategy games like UFO / X-COM were the cutting edge, just as RTS was taking over. “In those days, I believed firmly that the future of computer games was all about AI. That in twenty years time we'd be interacting with NPC characters in computer games that actually had real intelligence and could respond to you in really intelligent ways. Boy, I was wrong. So wrong!”


VoxelFarm Realtime is Minecraft in a gorgeously realistic procedurally generated world

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Phil Savage at

Miguel Cepero's Procedural World project was already an insanely impressive example of the collision between maths, nature and beauty; creating vast landscapes and detailed structures. Recently his work has taken a familiar, if equally spectacular turn, adding a Minecraft style WYSIWYG landscape editor and building system that lets him shape his random worlds. There is a video. Try not to gawp.


A Valley Without Wind out now, demo available

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Tom Senior at

Version 1.0 of procedurally generated 2D explorathon, A Valley Without Wind, is out now on Steam and directly from the developers, Arcen. It casts you as a wandering adventurer on a mission to take down the powerful Overlord of the realm. You can wander into his chambers at any time, but he'll reduce you to a gooey smear in moments if you confront him right away. Exploring the world, saving citizens, building villages and defeating monsters will grant you the equipment, spells and enchantments needed to take him down.