“Procedural generation” is a phrase I’m seeing in gaming press releases increasingly often. Character names are procedurally generated. Loot and equipment is procedurally generated. Levels are procedurally generated. Entire games are becoming procedurally generated1. Procedural generation has become shorthand for any game content that isn’t designed and constructed ahead of time by a human being, but which is instead created on the fly by an algorithm or two inside the game program itself. It’s hardly a new concept in computer games – even the earliest roguelikes incorporated it to a significant degree, for example – but it’s one which is getting more and more traction in today’s gaming market, especially on the indie scene. It seems that many of today’s developers look at procedural generation as a kind of holy grail of game development; because the algorithm outputs and the content they generate is pseudo-random it means in theory that you can provide a player with a potentially limitless amount of content for a game and in effect give it infinite replayability, as every time they load the game up they’ll be practically guaranteed to see something different.