Generating Game Content with Procedural Generation in C#

Procedural Generation in C#

Procedural generation is a technique used in game design to create game content algorithmically rather than by hand. This can include terrain, levels, items or even characters.

The Diablo series of hack-and-slash action RPGs uses a procedural generator to create their massive dungeons full of rooms, corridors and monsters. In this article you will learn how to make a simple, yet powerful c# procedural generation system for Unity.

Defining the Procedural Content

Procedural content (PCG) is the process of generating levels, worlds, environments, and other game assets algorithmically. It is often used in games with strict memory constraints to make use of as much existing data as possible and provide a larger variety of levels.

This can also be used to add replayability as each new playthrough of a game will produce a different result from the same starting conditions. PCG is also popular for rogue-likes, where the map is generated each time the player enters it.

PCG can be implemented in a variety of ways, but the choice of programming language is key to how successful it will be. One option is to use a high-level scripting language such as Rant, which allows developers to create templates, dialogue, stories, name generators and more with minimal code. Rant is a regular expression-like system which compares inputs to patterns instead of evaluating each individual element. This makes it a fast and efficient tool for creating procedural generation algorithms.

Creating C# Scripts

Procedural content generation is a powerful technique that can save game development time and increase replay value. It’s also a great way to create dynamic levels that adapt to player behavior. However, it can be difficult to implement.

The first step is to define what kind of content you want to generate, such as terrain, levels, or items. Then you need to write the algorithm to create that content.

Scripting is an essential part of any game development toolkit, and C# offers robust support for procedural generation. The language’s interactive windows allow you to validate your code as you write it, preventing errors such as casing mismatches from sneaking in.

To create a simple procedural tree generation system, we’ll use the Unity game engine and its C# scripting support. This is still new, so there are some growing pains. One example is the lack of saving and restoring state from hot-reloading, so we can’t make changes to the state in between sessions.

Implementing the Procedural Generation Algorithm

Procedural generation is a powerful technique in game development, allowing developers to create a wide range of dynamic and randomized content. With the right tools and techniques, procedural content can add a huge amount of replayability and variety to games while reducing overall file size and limiting performance impact.

One of the best tools for implementing procedural content is the popular Unity game engine. The platform’s advanced scripting language, C#, makes it easy to create sophisticated and flexible procedural generation systems that adapt to the player’s gameplay.

For example, a simple tree generation system could be implemented as a single MonoBehaviour class component that is applied to any object that you want to have a tree in your game. The code is very efficient, relying on only two basic recursive functions to compute all the vertices for the tree mesh.

Interested in learning how to use Unity to create 2D and 3D game environments with procedural generation? Zenva’s comprehensive Unity Game Development Mini-Degree is an excellent resource to help you explore the limitless possibilities of this powerful platform.

Testing and Refining the Content

Procedural generation is a great way to create a lot of content for your game. This can help you save money and time as you don’t have to hire a team of artists to make all the assets by hand. It is also a good way to make sure that the levels are always fresh and new, which can add a lot of replay value.

Many survival games and open worlds use procedural generation to create different maps for the player to explore. This allows them to offer infinite replay value as the gameplay is never the same from one play session to the next.

This process of creating levels and worlds by using algorithms is known as procedural synthesis. It is used in a variety of ways across various fields including computer graphics, music, and video games. It is especially useful in games with limited memory capacity such as the early years of gaming when technology could only support a few premade levels.

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Procedural Buildings: Advanced Generation and Customization

How to Create Procedural Buildings

Procedural buildings are a new type of volume that allow you to apply a ruleset to any part of the building. They are used to control the appearance of doors, windows, roofs, smaller details and the overall architectural style.

A number of advances have been made in this area. Some of them are based on user parametrization of floor-plans while others are based on stochastic generation of virtual building models.

How to generate a ProcBuilding

Buildings can be generated with a variety of rules sets. To apply a ruleset, simply select a ProcBuilding and set the Ruleset property or use the new Kismet-like editor.

Buildings make extensive use of the InstancedStaticMeshComponent, which allows them to render many instances of the same mesh in one draw call. This improves vertex performance and reduces draw calls by allowing the engine to cache faces and polygons of a building on a per-building basis.

You can override the material used for the roof, floor or non-rectangular wall polys on a per-building basis by entering geometry mode and selecting a face. Then right-click and select ‘ProcBuilding -> Apply Material (MaterialName) To Face’.

You can also reshape the corner polygons of the building by using the ‘ProcBuilding -> Reshape Corner Polys’ command. This is especially useful when you are trying to create a complex shape. However, this will dramatically increase the polycount of a building. So, be careful.

Apply a ruleset to a ProcBuilding

For example, if you have a building that has multiple floors and an awning, you might want to create separate rule sets for each floor. These can then be applied to the building using the ‘ProcBuilding -> Apply Ruleset’ command in the editor toolbar or context menu. Alternatively, you can group buildings together by assigning one to be the ‘Base Building’. Then, all other buildings will be built from the ‘Base Building’ ruleset, making it easier to edit the building geometry.

The ‘Base Building’ ruleset can also be used to set up the ‘Window Mode’ for a building. This will give the building a low-LOD version of itself that can be used for lighting and LOD texture generation. This is a very important step for creating complex buildings. Fortunately, it can be done easily by using the ‘ProcBuilding’command. This will display the building in a light green wireframe, and the ‘ProcBuilding’button in the editor toolbar will let you quickly select it.

Change the color of walls on a per-building basis

A common problem with procedural buildings is that the walls often overlap. To solve this, you can use a tool called wall material regions to change the color of a particular wall segment on a per-building basis. This will ensure that only occluding walls get painted, and it will also help avoid mistakes in the comparison between existing and new construction.

This method uses a combination of the occlusion rules and the “snap” planes to control repetition. The occlusion rule determines the size of a wall, and the snap planes control where the windows will appear. The occlusion and snap rules work together to create an architectural design that can be generated quickly and efficiently.

This is a Geometry Nodes-powered system that takes a low-poly mesh and turns it into a building. You can use it to generate a full, detailed structure with floors, doors, and smaller details. It can also be used to decorate pre-existing buildings, though it will not replace the original geometry.

Change the corner polygons on a per-building basis

You can change the color of the corner polygons on a per-building basis by using the BuildingMaterialParams array on a ProcBuilding. This allows you to create a unique visual style for each building without creating many different Rulesets.

You can also override the material used on the generated roof, floor, and non-rectangular wall polys on a per-ProcBuilding basis. To do this, enter geometry mode, select the faces that need to be changed, and right-click ProcBuilding -> Apply Material (MaterialName) To Face.

You can set the display and action of user-defined buttons in the Check Footprint Polygons dialog. These include Auto rotate, Auto shift, Rotate, Shift, and Fix corners. You can also change the editing mode while dragging a vertex by pressing the Shift key. The current mode is displayed on the status bar and in the Heads-Up display. The default mode is plain edges. You can also use the advanced corner settings to create triangles and stars.

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1. Randomization 2. Convenience 3. Flexibility 4. Scalability 5. Efficiency

What Is Procedural Generation in Games?

Procedural generation is used for a variety of reasons in games. Some of these include increasing replay value, data compression and scalability.

It was first used in the 1980 rogue-like game Beneath Apple Manor and later popularized by Rogue which started a craze of procedurally generated games. More recently, open world games like Minecraft and No Man’s Sky use this technique.

1. Randomization

Games that rely on procedural generation can provide a unique experience every time a player plays. This variety helps to prevent staleness by keeping the game fresh and interesting, even for players who have already explored a large portion of the world.

Procedural generation can also create a sense of discovery by making it difficult to predict what will happen. This can be accomplished by using a seed value that feeds into the algorithm, which will produce different results each time.

Procedural generation can also be used to spawn objects in the world, such as enemies, trees, loot and particle systems. This allows for a combination of artistic control and procedural variety that cannot be achieved with hand-crafted assets alone.

2. Convenience

Many games use procedural generation to increase replayability by ensuring that the game is fresh each time you play it. For example, in roguelikes like Spelunky, each new level is a new challenge and the game world changes each time.

Procedural algorithms can be used to instantly spawn enemies, animals, trees, flora, particle systems, loot, and more. This is known as ‘instantiating’ and is one of the most common uses of procedural generation in games.

Some developers also use procedural generation for scalability and data compression. For example, Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky procedurally generated 18 quintillion planets using a combination of several different algorithms. This allowed them to pack the game with more content in a smaller download size.

3. Flexibility

While the term procedural generation is often associated with generating 2D or 3D landscapes, it can be used for any type of game content. This includes characters, loot, equipment, quests, and more. It’s also frequently used in games with permanent death as a gameplay mechanic to create unique playthroughs for each player.

This is one of the main reasons that procedural generation has become popular in the indie gaming community, allowing single developers or small teams to create large worlds that would otherwise be impossible on their own. However, this flexibility can be abused if the algorithms are not carefully designed.

For example, games using procedural generation to generate dungeons often use noise functions that produce random-seeming values, despite being designed with certain goals in mind. This makes the resulting levels seem uninspired and stale.

4. Scalability

Using procedural generation in games can help developers create vast worlds in limited resources. This is one of the main reasons it’s become popular among indie games – it allows small teams to maximize game content within a smaller budget and timeframe.

For example, a game could generate the broad strokes of the terrain with a simple algorithm while relying on traditional modeling to create unique, handcrafted assets for trees and other finer details. This can allow for a seamless combination of artistic control and procedural variety.

Many open world games use procedural generation to ensure each playthrough is different. This helps keep the experience fresh and keeps players engaged. It’s also a common feature in games with permadeath mechanics, which require players to start over from the beginning every time they die.

5. Efficiency

Using procedural generation allows developers to create games that would be impossible to design otherwise. This is especially important for games with large worlds and many assets that need to be created.

Games with permadeath or similar mechanics that force players to start over from the beginning often use procedural generation. This allows them to provide a unique experience each time they play the game.

In addition, using procedural generation can reduce development costs by allowing developers to skip the step of manually designing each element of a level or world. This can help small indie studios and solo developers create high-quality games within a shorter time frame or budget. This allows them to compete with the massive AAA titles that often have tens of millions of dollars to spend on lavishly detailed worlds.

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Algorithmic creation of data through procedural generation is a versatile tool used in various aspects of video game development.

What is Procedural Generation?

Procedural generation is algorithmic creation of data that follows a set of rules. You’ve seen this in games like No Man’s Sky, as well as older titles such as Soldier of Fortune and River Raid.

Offline procedural generation is often built in layers, with the base map giving coarse data of terrain and mountains, while rivers, roads and vegetation make use of this in their implementation.


There are many ways to generate objects procedurally. One popular approach uses a model of a physics engine to create different environments using the same rules and generating them from the same set of inputs. This is similar to the way in which video game levels are often designed.

Another method uses a set of algorithms that use cellular automata to produce different environments. The Game of Life is an excellent example of this. The simulated cells obey four simple rules, and yet the result is a complex system of chaotic events.

Some games also use artist created content to provide specific features for a world, while others use a combination of both approaches. For example, Left 4 Dead uses a mixture of procedural generation to create certain areas of the map while Borderlands generates items and weapons. These systems are often built in layers. The bottom layer provides coarse data such as the terrain shape and topography, while higher layers create detailed features such as roads, rivers and vegetation.


Procedural generation can be used to create environments on a massive scale. This is what you see in video games like Minecraft, where the world is generated on a block by block basis following certain rules to create mountains, caves and other landscape features.

You also see it in survival and open world games where the player can explore a huge map that is randomly or deterministically generated. These games may use cellular automata to generate different pixel or voxel-based biomes and then distribute objects, resources and creatures within them.

This can be done at runtime or offline as part of the game’s design process. When it is done at runtime, the generation has to be able to work in very few milliseconds per frame of the game, so high-detail generation isn’t always possible. Offline generation, on the other hand, can be much more detailed and takes advantage of computer power to render the results.


Procedurally generated characters can be used in a variety of ways. They can replace hand-authored models entirely, or they can be used to provide a large number of variants of the same model, such as different rotations, shapes and colors. This can help to avoid the “thousand bowls of oatmeal” problem where a game may have many technically unique variants of an object but in the end they all look the same to the player.

This method is particularly useful for background or other content that cannot break the game if it isn’t perfect, such as foliage. For example, the game No Man’s Sky is primarily procedurally generated but is supplemented with some more detailed foliage which has been hand-authored.

The generation process can be done offline as part of the design process, known as offline procedural generation, or it can be integrated into the game to be run at runtime, known as online procedural generation. The latter type of implementation generally puts a great deal of pressure on the performance of the algorithm as the game only has a few milliseconds per frame to perform all its logic including AI, physics, rendering and the generation process.


Procedural generation (abbreviated as proc-gen or proc) is a technique used to create data algorithmically rather than manually. The process can be automated and random and is often applied to generate assets in video games such as the landmass generation in Minecraft or No Man’s Sky. It can also be used to create textures and 3D models.

For audio, procedural generation allows developers to use algorithms (often pseudo-random) to produce music configurations that adapt and change during runtime, known as online procedural audio synthesis. This can be done using tools like generative noise functions, cellular automata and fractals.

This can save time and money compared to manually creating sounds from scratch. It also reduces the need for large sound libraries, allowing developers to save storage space and make more room for other game content.

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Exploring through Procedural Generation

Procedural Generation Code

Procedural generation is a common feature of rogue-like games. It allows the computer to create rooms and ensure that they are connected with passages, that monsters are distributed evenly and so on.

It can make the game’s files smaller, allow for much bigger worlds and provide nigh-limitless replay value. But it also requires a lot of technical work.

Video games

In video games, procedural generation is often used to create worlds and features that would otherwise be impossible to build manually. This can be especially helpful for games that are open-world and feature endless replayability, such as Minecraft or No Man’s Sky.

The roguelike platformer Spelunky is commonly cited as one of the best examples of procedural generation in action, leveraging a complex set of interrelated systems to produce gameplay that is uniquely challenging and rewarding. It is also worth noting that many of the most popular puzzle games (such as Tetris) rely on randomness to create a nigh infinite amount of content.

Procedural generation is a valuable tool for game developers, as it saves memory usage and artist time by allowing the computer to generate the content it would otherwise have to produce manually. However, this can lead to experiences that feel poorly designed or unnatural, so tuning generated content to suit the intended gameplay is an essential part of the game development process.


In film, procedural generation is used to generate the space that a camera moves through and to create effects such as water ripples. It can also be used to generate the outlines of characters and objects in an animation.

Procedural generation code is a set of rules that a computer follows to produce something. The rules can be as simple as the addition function two plus three equals five or more complex like creating a specific texture that looks natural.

In video games, procedural generation is useful for making large amounts of content quickly and easily. It can even create whole worlds that are then populated with details by human artists. In roguelikes, for example, this can be used to create new levels that are different every time you play. It’s important to note that procedural should not be confused with random, as a good level-generator should always have control over the result. For example, it shouldn’t create a gap that the player can’t jump over.

Audiovisual demoscene

The demoscene is an international computer art subculture focused on creating a kind of audiovisual presentation known as a demo. These are stand-alone, often very small (size-coding), computer programs that produce audiovisual effects and are shared at events called demoparties. Demos typically show off programming, visual, and musical skills and are designed to push hardware systems to their limits.

In this sense, they’re similar to video games and CG animation, but differ from them in that demos are not interactive. The creators of demos, like other artists, are not only interested in producing a stunning final product, but also in how the work was made.

As such, they’re keen to challenge or game the functional characteristics of the old platforms and create their own styles of work through the process of struggle and compromise. The result is often amazing and a lot of fun to watch. This ethos of experimentation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with existing technology is why demos remain popular to this day.

Space exploration

Exploring space is an activity that has always been of interest to mankind. It has been pursued for many reasons including adding to our knowledge of the universe, boosting national prestige, and even making money.

While humans are still capable of traveling into outer space, most exploration is done by unmanned satellites and robotic spacecraft. It is the goal of astronomers to study the physical characteristics of celestial bodies such as planets, their moons, and other satellites.

Procedural generation is commonly used in space exploration and trading games such as Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen, Outerra Anteworld and I-Novae Infinity. These systems use a set of deterministic parameters and random seeds to create a galaxy with a large number of solar system and planets that the player can then travel between. This is a good example of how procedural generation can help to make the game world feel more realistic.

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