Soft Computing

, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp 1893–1914 | Cite as

Automatic evolution of programs for procedural generation of terrains for video games

Accessibility and edge length constraints
  • Miguel FradeEmail author
  • Francisco Fernandez de Vega
  • Carlos Cotta
Original Paper


Nowadays the video game industry is facing a big challenge to keep costs under control as games become bigger and more complex. Creation of game content, such as character models, maps, levels, textures, sound effects and so on, represent a big slice of total game production cost. Hence, the video game industry is increasingly turning to procedural content generation to amplify the cost-effectiveness of the efforts of video game designers. However, procedural methods for automated content generation are difficult to create and parametrize. In this work we study a genetic programming-based procedural content technique to generate procedural terrains that do not require parametrization, thus, allowing to save time and help reducing production costs. Generated procedural terrains present aesthetic appeal; however, unlike most techniques involving aesthetic, our approach does not require a human to perform the evaluation. Instead, the search is guided by the weighted sum of two morphological metrics: terrain accessibility and obstacle edge length. The combination of the two metrics allowed us to find a wide range of fit terrains that present more scattered obstacles in different locations than our previous approach with a single metric. Procedural terrains produced by this technique are already in use in a real video game.


Terrains Procedural content generation Video games Aesthetic appeal 



We are deeply grateful to the Informatics and Communications Services of Computer Science department from University of Coimbra, Portugal, for giving us a time slot on 18 nodes of their MILIPEIA cluster. Also, a special word of appreciation to Patrcio Domingues that made the required arrangements that made possible our use of the cluster. Without their generosity our tests would not have been possible. The authors acknowledge the support of Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation under project ANYSELF (TIN2011-28627-C04). The first and second authors are supported by University of Extremadura, project Grupo GEA. The second author is also supported by Gobierno de Extremadura, Consejeria de Economia-Comercio e Innovacion and FEDER, project GRU09105. The third author is supported by Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation under projects TIN2008-05941, and by Junta de Andalucia under project TIC-6083.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Frade
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco Fernandez de Vega
    • 2
  • Carlos Cotta
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Technology and ManagementPolytechnic Institute of LeiriaLeiriaPortugal
  2. 2.Centro Universitario de Mérida, University of ExtremaduraMéridaSpain
  3. 3.ETSI Informática (3.2.49)University of MálagaMálagaSpain

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