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What is the role of fractals in procedural generation?

  1. Dec 3, 2015 #1
    I've been reading a lot about computer games like Dwarf Fortress (of which I am also a huge fan) and No Man's Sky which generate the bulk of their content automatically by generating it procedurally. It often seems that when the methods of procedural generation are discussed, fractals end up appearing in the discussion in some form or another.

    What I'm wondering then is what makes fractals relevant in automatically generating content for computer games?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2015 #2


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    Nothing besides the concept. From my experience talking to computer programmers who work in the game design that what a mathematician would call a fractal isn't necessary applied to procedural generation. The reason why programmers employ the term is because the process reminds them of fractals. The reality is that fractal algorithms aren't particularly useful for games. You inherently want one set of code to handle land, another for space, another for star etc. You also want to build in a system to remove repetitiveness in the environment.
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