Generating 3D Maps with Procedural Generation

3D Procedural Generation and Its Challenges

3D procedural generation is a powerful tool that allows for the creation of dynamic virtual environments. However, it is not without its challenges. These include unpredictability and computational complexity.

Traditional modeling excels at creating detailed models with precision and nuance, while procedural generation excels at generating large-scale, repetitive patterns efficiently. Therefore, a hybrid approach is often necessary.

Visually appealing

Procedural generation can be an attractive and cost-effective way to create visually appealing game worlds. It can also reduce development resources, allowing small teams to deliver large games with diverse content. It can even create dynamic game worlds that change and adapt in real time.

However, procedural generation has some disadvantages. If not carefully crafted, it can create monotonous or boring environments. For example, a randomly generated maze may be too long and uninteresting to play. Or, if the player is extremely lucky at the start of a game, it could make the game easy to complete without any challenge.

A popular technique for creating procedural content is to use a seed value as the starting point. This is an initial number that feeds into the algorithm, ensuring consistency and allowing players to share unique game worlds. For instance, the developers of the game Astroneer used a seed to create the landscape around the player’s home base, while relying on another algorithm to generate the finer details such as rivers and wildlife.


Procedural generation (also known as “procgen”) is a process of creating data algorithmically instead of manually. This saves time and money while allowing artists to focus on more creative tasks. It can also produce a wide variety of unique results.

Procgen is also a great choice for games that need to have large amounts of content. For example, a 3D first-person shooter with a procedural world fits into a 96kb executable, compared to a 400mb game that uses all of its own assets.

While procedural generation offers many benefits, it can sometimes lack the detail and precision that is available through traditional modeling. Fortunately, there are ways to balance this dilemma. For instance, designers can create prototypes and rough drafts of their assets using traditional modeling before implementing them with a procedural generator. This allows artists to achieve the perfect blend of visual control and artistic variety. The result is a more interesting and engaging game world.


Procedural generation is a powerful tool that can be used to create a wide variety of assets. However, it can also present a number of challenges. These hurdles can range from the unpredictability of generated results to the computational demands required to generate high-quality assets. To overcome these challenges, it is important to approach procedural asset generation using an iterative methodology. This will allow artists to develop a better understanding of the parameters that lead to a desired aesthetic.

While most people associate procedural generation with game terrains and landscapes, it is a very versatile technique that can be used to create many other types of content. It can be used to generate textures, characters, objects, quests, and even narratives.

One example of this is rogue-like games that use procedural generation to create unique dungeons. These dungeons are created from a set of rules that determine the locations of rooms and their connectivity with passages. Another example is Elite Dangerous, which uses procedural generation to simulate a galaxy of star systems and planets that the player can travel between.


Unlike traditional modeling, which requires direct control over every vertex and surface, procedural generation produces models that are iterative. This allows artists to adjust a model’s characteristics quickly and accurately. For example, a model for a tree can be adjusted by changing its shape and size or by altering the number of branches or leaves. This method can also be used to create complex patterns and environments efficiently.

The demand for huge and realistic virtual worlds is growing, especially in computer games, movies and simulations. However, creating such landscapes manually is a time-consuming and expensive task. Therefore, (semi-)automatic methods are needed to reduce the amount of manual work.

This paper presents a technique for procedually generating 3D maps using a set of premade meshes that snap together based on designer-specified visual constraints. This approach avoids size and layout limitations, and offers the designer control over the look of the generated map as well as immediate feedback on a given map’s navigability.

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